Salt secrets

Join our food writers as we explore salt, the most basic and most important of seasonings

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USING AND BUYING GOURMET SALTS

Once we started exploring salts, we got as excited as cattle trotting up to a salt lick. Good old table salt has its uses, of course, but when you've got jars of fluffy kosher salt; moist, mineral-rich gray salt; and crisp pink pyramids in front of you, why not step out a bit? Here's a sampling of our favorite fancy salts, how we like to use the more unusual ones, and where to buy them.


Our six favorite salts

  1. Diamond Crystal kosher salt, sold at many grocery stores. About $4 for 3 lbs.
  2. Most any unrefined, mineral-rich sea salt such as sel gris, sold at many grocery stores.
  3. Maldon sea salt. Crisp, delicate, flaky pyramids, sold at many grocery stores and through SaltWorks. $6.50 for 8.5 oz.
  4. Murray River Australian flake salt. Pretty pink pyramid flakes sold through SaltWorks and The Meadow (called Murray Darling Finishing Salt here). From $6.25 for 2 oz.
  5. Halen Môn sea salt with Taha'a Vanilla. Welsh flake salt blended with Tahitian vanilla for a tantalizing aroma and flavor, sold through The Meadow and Market Hall Foods (888/952-4005). From $12.50 for 2 oz.
  6. Japanese Iburi-Jio cherrywood-smoked salt. Aromatic, fine-textured, and delicately smoky sea salt sold by Market Hall Foods (888/952-4005) and The Meadow. From $18 for 3.5 oz.


Our favorite uses for unrefined sea salts

  • Roast chicken and potatoes with olive oil and Sea Star gray salt rubbed on before baking. $14.50 for 3/4 lb.
  • Artisan bread with unsalted butter and Fleur de Sel de l'Ile de Ré (from The Meadow; $11 for 2 oz.) or another fleur de sel, or fine red Hawaiian salt (from The Meadow; also called 'alaea volcanic finishing salt; $6.25 for 2 oz.).
  • Sliced tomatoes with delicately pink and crunchy sugpo asin Filipino sea salt from Xroads Philippine Sea Salts .
  • Popcorn with Diamond Crystal kosher salt or Artisan Salt Company's sel gris fine.


Our favorite uses for flake salts

  • Margaritas rimmed with Maldon sea salt (sold at many grocery stores and through SaltWorks and Market Hall Foods).
  • Caprese salad with Murray River flake salt (sold by SaltWorks and The Meadow, which calls it Murray Darling Finishing Salt).
  • Scoop of vanilla bean ice cream topped with a few delicately crunchy flakes of Murray River flake salt (sold by SaltWorks and The Meadow, which calls it Murray Darling Finishing Salt); Maldon sea salt (sold at many grocery stores and by SaltWorks); or aromatic Halen Môn vanilla salt (sold through The Meadow and Market Hall Foods).

 

 

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