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
- Diamond Crystal kosher salt, sold at many grocery stores. About $4 for 3 lbs.
- Most any unrefined, mineral-rich sea salt such as sel gris, sold at many grocery stores.
- Maldon sea salt. Crisp, delicate, flaky pyramids, sold at many grocery stores and through SaltWorks. $6.50 for 8.5 oz.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).