Salt secrets

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

Our favorite uses for flavored salts

  • Pan-seared scallops with Halen Môn vanilla salt (sold through The Meadow and Market Hall Foods).
  • Scrambled eggs with Amabito No Moshio sea salt (subtle, mild kelp flavor; $12 for 3.5 oz.; Market Hall Foods and The Meadow) or aromatic Japanese Iburi-Jio cherrywood-smoked salt (from $18 for 3.5 oz.; Market Hall Foods and The Meadow).
  • Homemade tortilla chips with Fusion Chile Verde Sea Salt (from SaltWorks; $14.99 for 5.5 oz.).
  • Grilled steaks with Hawaiian black sea salt (from Soul of the Sea) or Salish alder-smoked salt (from Artisan Salt Company).
  • Baked potatoes with Salish Alder Smoked Salt (from SaltWorks; $10.99 for 9 oz.).


SALT SOURCES

1. Most grocery stores sell Diamond Crystal kosher salt.

2. At The Meadow in Portland (3731 N. Mississippi Ave.), self-proclaimed "selmelier" Mark Bitterman and his wife, Jennifer Bitterman, sell more than 70 varieties of salt, including some more unusual finds.

3. SaltWorks, based in Woodinville, Washington, sells 50 varieties, including naturally derived flavored salts in their Fusion line, at fine cooking stores, Whole Foods Markets, and online.

4. Napa Valley chef Holly Peterson imports hand-harvested gray sea salt ($14.50 for 3/4 lb.) and fleur de sel ($14.50 for 1/4 lb.) from Brittany and sells it under the label Sea Star, available online and at Whole Foods Markets.

5. Hawaii Kai Corporation makes Soul of the Sea Hawaiian Molokai sea salts in white, red, and black; they're available online and at Whole Foods Markets. $19.99 for 12 oz.

6. The Pasta Shop in Berkeley (1786 Fourth St.; 888/952-4005) and Oakland (5655 College Ave.; 888/952-4005) and its online store, Market Hall Foods, carries Halen Môn sea salt with Taha'a Vanilla and two outstanding Japanese salts, Japanese Iburi-Jio cherrywood-smoked salt and Amabito No Moshio ($12 for 3.5 oz.), a sea salt with subtle kelp essence and a texture like soft snow.

7. Northern California–based Xroads Philippine Sea Salts sells hand-harvested Ilocano Asin (a moist white sea; $10 for 5 oz.) and sugpo asin (a moist pink sea salt that gets its color and slightly briny flavor from shrimp; $12.50 for 5 oz.) in handmade woven nipa-palm baskets.

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