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How do you use Sea Salt?

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Sea Salt seems to be everywhere these days... or maybe I'm just late on picking up the trend. I'm curious, how do other CHs use it? Looking forward to your creative feedback!

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  1. on fresh steamed edamame. wow.
    in mashed yukon gold potatoes.

    1. I use it in a salt mill and grind it fresh like peppercorns. It is also great sprinkled over roasted meats and poultry.

      3 Replies
      1. re: TonyO

        I do the same (with the grinder), and use it on almost everything except maybe popcorn. My wife uses it exclusively when we at home because (other than the wonderful taste imparted) she is allegic to iodine, and sea salt (at least all the brands I have tried) are un-iodized.

        1. re: Fydeaux

          hmmm. I would maybe try changing brands of iodized salt before cutting it out entirely. Iodide (I-)is an essential nutrient and it pretty much impossible to be allergic to it (iodine (I2)isn't in salt and is very reactive). It must be something else in the salt. Don't most commercial brands of iodized salt also use anti-caking agents? I would blame those things before iodide/iodine. Besides, sea salt has plenty of iodide to counterbalance the sodium... its not just all chloride, there is the iodide, sulfate, chlorate and iodate goodies in there.

          1. re: krushdnasty

            I understand what you're saying, but we've checked it all out, and iodine seems to be it. Perhaps 'allergy' is not diagnostically correct, but it can cause her to have some severe reactions. She cant eat shellfish for the same reason (at least that's what all her doctors have told her).

            No doubt she gets the necessary amounts of iodine from other sources. But we switched from regular salt to sea salt when we got married, and a lot of her indigestion went away. Since it works, we're not inclined to fix it.

      2. Sea salt on summertime tomatoes is a thing of beauty.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JennaL

          You are so right, the large crystals just create magic with the tomatoe, beautiful.

        2. To use to salt any boiling water. It add wonderful flavor to veggies... :)

          I also love to sprinkle it on already cooked foods, like Edamame as mentioned.

          I don't like to use it as an ingredient though, I like the CLEANER flavor of Kosher...

          --Dommy!

          1. Maldon is my favorite - you don;t have to grind it at all - just fill up a salt bowl with those wonderful flakes & sprinkle on EVERYTHING!!

            1. I love a little on scrambled eggs.

              2 Replies
              1. re: thegolferbitch

                ughh. I had a horrible experience regarding that! I usually sift my Maldon seat salt so I can reserve the largest pyramids for special pruposes! I made a deliciously soft omlette one day and used some of larger Maldon flakes I had reserved. They, of course, didn't entirely melt by the time mi' lady and I started eating. Horrible! The Maldon was able to PERFECTLY recreate the texture of a broken eggshell piece! Seriously, everytime I crackled into a bite of omlette I cringed. It was such a guttural revulsion that I don't think that I can overcome it. Try it sometime if you don't believe me. Its the culinary equivalent of nails-on-the-chalkboard. I actually tried it again, because I was so enamored with the proposition of monstrous pyrimds of salt perched precariously atop a golden "Omega-3" omlette! Very small flakes or finger ground powdered Maldon works great though.

                1. re: krushdnasty

                  This happened to me as well when I was making a RR breakfast of wheat bread in muffin tin topped with cheddar cheese and egg. I lined the tin with butter,bread,cheese then topped with egg and Maldon sea salt and ground pepper. It was a "crunchy" mess and even though I knew I had disposed of all the egg shells my brain could not get away from the "crunch" being a wayward bit of shell. Neither my DH nor I could comfortably finish it. LOL

              2. One of my favorite salads is nothing but good greens, truffle oil, fleur de sel (or another great sea salt) and good tellicherry pepper. You want to be very sparing with the oil and you don't have to use truffle oil. The same dish made with walnut or hazlenut oil is also delicious and allows you to enjoy the salt.

                1. Yummmm! I'm definitely going to try that! Thanks!

                  1. If it's plain old granular sea salt, it's not terribly special. The only sea salts that are worth special use are things like Maldon or fleur de sel, which have a distinctive texture or a (very temporary) special flavor. By and large, it's a sheer waste to use such salts for cooking/dissolving, and most taste tests show no noticeable gain (but a nice waste of $).

                    The special use for special sea salts is where they are sprinkled atop food to be eaten immediately before they get a chance to dissolve. Like salads, eggs, corn on the cob, veggies, even steak (but I would salt gradually as I ate, to avoid the salt's dissolving).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Karl S

                      you have your cooking salts and your 'finishing' salts

                    2. I use it all the time for the basis to rubs to draw out more flavor. The greater surface area seems to help out with meats a lot for me.

                      1. If I get thick beef filets, I like to pan-fry them in butter, and sprinkle sea salt on them so I can get a crispy outside while the inside is still red, which doesn't work with really fine salt. Rock salt would probably be better but in the kitchen in my suite right now nobody has bought rock salt, so sea salt is it until someone buys it.

                        1. Someday the ordinary salt marketing dept will figure out that they can add a zero to the end of the price when they promote it as sea salt from the unpolluted prehistoric ocean!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: atheorist

                            You are a marketing genius!
                            It's all the same NaCl, just in different crystalline forms with occasional trace minerals.

                          2. Hi,

                            I got at least 20 to 30 different types of sea salts from different countries and regions, and I agree with Karl S that plain old sea salt (like from Mortons) will be good enough for cooking. Special sea salt like Fleur de Sel or Maldon should be used for seasoning after cooking. For myself, I just a sea salt from Okinawa, Japan for cooking.

                            I use different sea salt for different things not just to enhance the taste and texture but sometime for the color. For instance, I slike to sprinkle Hawaiian red sea salt on white based sauce or clam chowder to make a nice contrast in color (and as the red salt melts on the surface of the soup it actually forms a "spiral"!). I also have smoke salt to add to meat, and I just bought truffle salt and use it with scrambled eggs and butter. DE~LI~CIOUS!!!!!

                            1. I love salt.

                              Maldon's I eat as a snack, sometimes -- a crystal at a time.

                              While I don't have as many as kobetobiko, I do use a number of salts. Some of the Australian crystal salts have more of a bite.

                              regular 'grey' sea salt is good for boiling squid ink pasta.

                              1. Ditto on the love for the Maldon salt, especially on salads and vegetables.

                                Colored and flavored sea salts are great for adding, well, color and flavor. I especially like Hawaiian pink salt or smoked salt on seafood. The salts are also seen as ingredients in chocolates and caramels. I love Vosges' Barcelona bar with grey salt.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: bibi rose

                                  Besides the nice crystalline crunch of finishing with salts like maldon, fleur de sel etc, the salt applied to the finished product just before eating opens the taste buds on your tongue, making it possible to glean more flavour and pick up more nuances and subtleties of flavour from your food, bite by bite. The science of food, gotta love it!

                                  I agree that these salts should be reserved for finishing applications, and kosher salt is the choice for all purpose usage.

                                2. I got a "salt sampler" for my wife for Christmas stocking stuffer. Samples of a dozen salts. Details to follow.

                                  We use sea salt as our regular salt. There's a bag of coarse crystal kosher salt for thigns that need it, pickles mostly.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: HenryT

                                    I know it's a year later, HenryT, but do you recall what kind of "sampler" you bought? What company, or what online site? I'm going to give some as stocking gifts this year too...

                                    1. re: foxy fairy

                                      How about this one: http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/giftsh...

                                  2. Sea salts are the only salts I use.

                                    1. has anyone tried dead sea salt.. its ground very fine,almost like a powder. i bought some on impulse but haven't tried it yet

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: RiJaAr

                                        I have a large container that I use on most everything. A little goes a long way. With regard to the other posting on regular coarse sea salt, I use it in boiled water predominantly for pasta. It's wonderful.

                                      2. i use only grey salt from france in place of all processed salt. salt is not salt - the salt i use is certified organic and does not have any chemical aftertaste. it tastes just like the ocean. i grind it with a mortar and pestle. trust me, there IS a difference!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: nancyhudson

                                          How is NaCl organic?

                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                            You know, they don't use fertilizer when they grow it ;-) Ha! I think that's a marketing ploy right there. Maybe the Morton's in a can table salt can't be organic because of all the stuff they put in there, but I'd be willing to bet that if it's a good product, they are all organic.

                                            OK, I just found this. I buy all my salt from these folks and I've ALWAYS been very pleased. http://www.saltworks.us/

                                            Organic salt cannot be "organically grown", as it is a mineral, not a plant. If you are looking for “Certified Organic” sea salt then you are looking for salt with the Nature & Progrés and BIO-GRO certification. These certificates that guarantee organic sea salt and organic production are issued by Nature & Progrés in France and BIO-GRO in New Zealand. This certification is awarded to saltworks that are located in a nature reserve, without risk of pollution, producing strictly by hand, without purifying the salt, and fulfilling the high standards in chemical analytics.

                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                              I use Sea Star (www.seastarseasalt.com) It's certified Nature & Progres in France - France's highest organic rating...check it out...

                                              www.natureetprogres.org

                                          2. I'm a salt lover aslo, and I use different salts for different things. I love to grind kosher for most thinks I cook, and I love the fluffy texture.I use One way I use fleur de Sel is to mix it with red pepper flakes, oregano, cracked pepper, olive oil and a good balsamic vinegar. Then dip a great baquette in it for a snack. Addicting.
                                            Also I like to take really fresh spinach, dress with a little red vinegar and olive oil and a little lemon, and then shower it with fleur de sel or kosher, and cracked pepper. This salad can be lunch for me. Dip baby carrots into red salt or rim the edge of marqarita glass with lime, then roll in red sea salt for a different taste, garish with a jalapeno and onion, Ole!
                                            Red sea salt is wonderful on cream of mushroom soup. It is earthy and pretty too. Or sometimes I just put it in my palm and take a finger and dip into it.

                                            1. I age the pieces of beef filet I purchase for a few days at home. I start with a generous sprinking of large Maldon crystals on one side, set the beef on a cake rake exposed, in the fridge. The salt draws out moisture and small flavorful juices which evaporate leaving residues to undergo micro "aging" in the desicating conditions of the fridge. Next day, the Salt crystals are gone... melded into the meat. Turn it over and sprinkle the other side with those lovely pyramids. Back on the cake rack in the fridge for 1/2 day. Now all the crystals are integrated into the meat. Rub very lightly with oil and roast under a fierce heat to crisp up the outside. Voila!!! This sea salt induced mini-dry cure is fantastic. It enables you to capture that dry aged taste to some degree in less than stellar beef purchased from non-specialty sources.

                                              1. As of a year ago I would have been listing kosher and sea salt as one of those food myths - I mean, salt (NACL) is salt, right? But then I broke through my resistence and just tried some. The difference is really noticeable. Now regular Morton's type salt tastes harsh and rough to me. Once you use it on everything you will not want to go back to the old salt we grew up with for anything. What do you use sea salt on? EVERYTHING!

                                                1. I assume 'sea salt' you were thinking about are the fancy origin ones, not the supermarket variety salt/kosher salt?

                                                  I agree with others that they are too expensive to use for anything but finishing touches, plus I don't think you can taste the difference if you put it into sauces or a pot of water for boiling.

                                                  I rely on the fleur de sel for almost everything from grilled steaks to tomato salad w/ mozzarella and arugula for finishing. Recently I tasted a dessert where fleur de sel is used with a caramel sauce to very good effect (like one of those sea salt caramels, except melted). So for inspiration you can try some vanilla ice cream topped with good quality caramel sauce and sprinkle a bit of fleur de sel on top.

                                                  I also got the red salt from Hawaii, but haven't really used it yet. I can't really smell any difference and not sure about the clay taste. Got some grey Brittany salt - they really smelled like the ocean or fresh oysters, but they are too moist/large grained for steaks. May have to try it with seafood.

                                                  Also picked up some sulfur smelling salt at at food shop at Tucson (haven't seen elsewhere), which they suggested using with Asian food. It smelled very strongly of sulfur, so again I am hesitant.

                                                  I'll be interested if others have suggestions on specific pairing of a particular type of sea salt to enhance the favor a particular dish (not looking for decorative effects).

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: notmartha

                                                    ^^"Also picked up some sulfur smelling salt at at food shop at Tucson (haven't seen elsewhere), which they suggested using with Asian food. It smelled very strongly of sulfur, so again I am hesitant."

                                                    Thats probably Dead Sea salt. My personal favorite. You haven't seen paradise until you sprinkle an incredible tiny amount on a soft boiled egg. The sulfur of the salt perfectly melds into the sulfury egginess. Sheer heaven.

                                                    Its uses are limited, but persevere and you will discover a stenchy joy that you will never do without again!

                                                    btw that hawaii salt is a joke imho. Its just regular salt that has red clay (or sometimes black clay) rubbed on it to give it color. Those BS marketing gimmicks will tell you that "the clay imparts terroir" "the clay is cleansing" blah blah blah. It doesn't impart terroir. it IS terroir. Thats just gross. Its so ridiculous... just take a few large square crystals and rinse them off under running water. Stop before they are dissoved and look at them. Hmmmm... looks like the type of salt I use in my ice cream maker or to salt the snowy sidewalk.

                                                    If you wanta good salt that retains a natural pink hue due to comined minerals (not added clay) then try out "jurrassic" salt. I am not sure of the real name, but its from a olde mine in Utah. It achieves its purity not by originating from protected waters, but by being dug up from a long buried sea. This stuff isn't anything fancy, whole foods has it for ~5$ I think. But it is earthy and flavorful without added dirt for color.

                                                    1. re: krushdnasty

                                                      Not sure it's dead sea, it's from India & Pakinston. Looked up the name at home - it was from a company called Flavorbank:

                                                      "Finely ground Black Sea Salt, also known as Kala Namak Salt. Mined from the volcanic regions of Pakistan and India. Black Sea Salt has a mildly sulfuric flavor. Used in many dishes in southern Asia."

                                                      I finally did a taste test last night (held my nose). Well, it tasted like a chinese thousand year old egg. Will try soft boil eggs with it. If it's really bad I'll just rinse the salt off after the experiment.

                                                      Thanks for the tip for the Jurrassic salt!

                                                      1. re: notmartha

                                                        oh yes... so sorry! I had my "seas" mixed up! Your absolutely right about black sea! I had the label right in front of me and misread it. oh well, at least you saw through my attempt to mislead you! ;-)

                                                        hehehehehehe! I just noticed in your cut-n-paste decription: "Black Sea Salt has a MILDLY sulfuric flavor."

                                                        Mild only if your used to noshing on fire and brimstone!

                                                        1. re: krushdnasty

                                                          There are some dead sea salts - at least I know they have skin care products based on it, not sure if one can eat the salt though!

                                                          MILD - that's the understatement of the year! My first thought was - rotten eggs, then switch to 'hey maybe it's the thousand year old eggs'. Even my scent deprived husband can tell it's sulfur when he sniffed it.

                                                          1. re: notmartha

                                                            If we have similar ones then your's is pink as well. If you take a healthy pinch and dissolve it in a tablespoon of tap water is turns a brilliant blue/green. I mention this because it makes a fantastic garnish/condiment (just a drip or two) around a plate of appropriate foods: The pink powder interspersed with emerald-black streaks.

                                                            One thiing it can't be used for imho: I tried to brine a home made fresh cheese in a solution of Black Sea Salt for ~ 5 days. That was possibly the worst smell ever. I love stinky cheese, but that was an abomination. Even worse than the time my homemade kimchee experiment went horribly awry! And believe me, thats saying alot.

                                                            Anyway, have fun experimenting. Good thing is that doesn't go bad!

                                                            ***********

                                                            oh... I almost forgot. Dissolving the salt will allow the hydrogen sulphide to become volatile and gaseous. Its not too bad, but concentrated, hot solutions will put out a stench! ;-)

                                                      2. re: krushdnasty

                                                        I'd like to see the faces of members of an average family presented with a dinner that smelled strongly of sulfur. I could hear you trying to explain, "But really, I swear! It's gourmet! It's the latest trend in sophisticated dining!" "That salt was really expensive, so you can wipe that look off your faces right this second!" "No, wait, sit back down! Maybe I can take it in the kitchen and wash it off!" "WHAT did you say it smelled like?!! That's IT! I told you kids no more potty mouth or you're grounded! And I NEVER want to hear that word again!"

                                                        1. re: niki rothman

                                                          I think sometimes the adults are less adventurous than kids. Sometimes grossness has an 'adventurous' type of appeal for the kiddies.

                                                          Honestly though I think other cultures handles food smells better. Chinese has the stinky fried tofu, and people eat durian all the time in Asia. The French has their ultra stinky cheese, grilled pig trots and such ...

                                                          P.S. The salt was like $7 to 10 - expensive comparing to regular, but not too outrageous.

                                                    2. We have some sea salt from Brittany that is incredible on roast potatoes.

                                                      Any ideas how to best use "Smoked Kosher Salt"? It's black.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: whs

                                                        That's a good idea. I made some fingerling potatoes during Thanksgiving - should have tried it there.

                                                      2. Smoked salt is just what it says - salt that's been smoked. It has a smoky taste, good in chili, some steaks, some Asian dishes, with duck. Not for general use, and especially not for baking!

                                                        1. I know this sounds really crazy, but vanilla ice cream topped with some good quality extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt is really good!
                                                          I first saw it in Jamie Oliver's Italy cookbook and I thought it was so wacky that it deserved a try. And boy, was I surprised!

                                                          1. I love to finish a steak with smoked sea salt and butter. Oooh and for finishing chocolate items.

                                                            1. The salt on vanilla ice cream thing doesn't sound so strange. I mean, we put salt on watermelon and pepper on cantaloupe to bring out the sweetness, so why not?

                                                              I never thought I liked radishes till I ate them with just sea salt (and sometimes butter). Now I eat radish sandwiches all the time.

                                                              I am also a maldon fan, and in addition to radishes, I like it on cucumbers.

                                                              1. The best sea salt I have is some stuff called Espuma del Mar from Colima in Mexico. It is very soft and mild, almost sweet flavor with no traces of bitterness or alkalinity. A great finishing salt, though I've used it for more than that. I also have a kilo of sea salt I picked up in Michoacan this summer. Now, since Michoacan is basically land locked, I have no idea where the sea salt came from. It was fairly granular so I put some of it through a spice grinder to pulverize it. That worked just fine and I use this salt for general cooking purposes.