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Sea salt question

mschow Oct 24, 2008 04:23 PM

I purchased some sea salt for the first time recently. Not an expensive brand, just something they had at the grocery store. I think I paid around $4 for it. Normally I use Kosher salt for all my cooking and seasoning. However, I find when I add the sea salt in place of the Kosher salt it does not break down. It stays 'crunchy', instead of melting into the food. I've used it in egg salad, on pasta, on beef stew and still it retains a bite. Not sure I am crazy about this at all. I don't want to bite into something to have a crunch and a burst of salt. Am I using this incorrectly? Should it only be used at the beginning of the cooking process and not at or near the end? Thoughts/opinions welcome.

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  1. todao RE: mschow Oct 24, 2008 04:33 PM

    Salt is produced in a variety of flake sizes for specific reasons. The "burst" of salt flavor that comes from coarse kosher salt is desirable in some prepared dishes. In other dishes it is clearly out of place. Sea salt can be processed to any of the flake sizes as any other salt and, it may surprise you, "sea" salt doesn't necessarily mean that it came from your local sea shore (or any seashore for that matter) and may have been mined like a lot of other salts. Some salt manufacturers put "sea salt" labels on mined salt and defend their label by explaining that all salt came from the sea at some point in time. Even if it's been underground at the bottom of an ancient sea bed for more years than they can accurately calculate.
    Coarse salts are best used at the end of the cooking process and sprinkled on the prepared food to provide that little extra burst of salt flavor. But they can be used at virtually any phase of the cooking process, even if they don't always dissolve as completely as you might like them too. If you want salt that dissolves completely, try picking up a box of pickling salt. It dissolves very quickly and won't give you that "crunch" that you're trying to avoid.

    2 Replies
    1. re: todao
      t
      tbiscaia RE: todao Oct 24, 2008 05:53 PM

      You could always use a good quality pepper grinder to break down the crystals.

      I have used all kinds of sea salts over the years, including some international/imports. My current favorite everyday salt is actually a mined salt, even though todao seems to look down on that type for some reason. It's called Real Salt, and it has natural minerals mixed in so it's not white like refined salt. You can buy it locally at various locations including Whole Foods, or online as I do, at http://www.realsalt.com .

      I use it both for cooking, and as table salt. Try it, you'll like it! Just don't overdo it...

      Ancient sea beds = NO artificial chemicals / pollution!

      And you can't say that about any of our seas anywhere in the world in this day and age...

      1. re: tbiscaia
        todao RE: tbiscaia Oct 24, 2008 07:11 PM

        Sorry if I left the wrong impression. I have no objection to mine salt; I use it (in the coarse kosher form) extensively. I prefer it for salads, burgers, steaks, and just about anything to which I add a bit of salt just before serving. It's great for crusting rolls and breads. My tong in cheek references to "sea" salt were based upon the idea that it somehow better if it comes from the sea - old sea or new sea - doesn't seem to matter.

    2. mschow RE: mschow Oct 24, 2008 06:07 PM

      Thanks for both replies. I did put the sea salt in a salt grinder that I had around the house (one that I purchased at TJ with rock salt in it). I thought the grinder might grind down the salt a bit finer, but it really doesn't. I do have a mortar and pestle so maybe I'll give that a try as well. I will take a look at the other sea salt next time I go to WF.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mschow
        michaelnatkin RE: mschow Oct 24, 2008 07:52 PM

        Can I recommend Maldon salt? It is produced in England and has a pronounced, thin flakiness. Use it only for finishing dishes, that finally sprinkle before you take it to the table. I've attached a picture below, it is the one to the right of the red Hawaiian salt.

         
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