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Feb 4, 2009 06:04 AM

sea salt/regular salt

Just curious. When you're boiling pasta water, do you use sea or regular (Mortons) salt. My kids use sea salt and I think it's just a waste and they think I'm silly.

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  1. What is the salt supposed to do?

    8 Replies
      1. re: HaagenDazs

        Yes, I'm serious - why is that so strange a question?

        *edit*, never mind, I googled salt, boiling, water and pasta and got this:

        The only real reason would be to flavour the pasta, so I guess it depends what you're using the pasta in (I.E. if it's a salty dish, you might not want to). Also, with everyone concerned about salt levels, it may be best not to if you add parmesan or something (not that that much salt disolved in the water would do much).

        Personally, I'd say the table salt would be a better idea considering how much of the salt would be chucked away in the water.

        1. re: Soop

          seasoning vs salting

          Salting is what people do at the table to add salt to improperly seasoned food, which makes the salt more predominant because the crystals are directly on your tongue

          Seasoning is flavouring a dish correctly with salt among one of the seasonings. A perfectly prepared meal won't need additional salt, hence the lack of salt shakers at most fine dining restaurants.

          There are people who salt or add ketchup to everything, before tasting, but that's a different issue!

          Perfectly made pasta should taste good on it's own, no dressing (sauce, etc.) required. I'm like that with baby shells and can eat an entire box cooked in one sitting. So I don't buy it much any longer. :(

          1. re: Caralien

            I totally agree with you there. But I wouldn't rate plain pasta as being one of my favorite tastes.

            And as for seasoning, whenever I'm approached at a resturant with a big block of parmesan and a grater... YUM.

            And for the record, I hate ketchup, and the only thing I salt tends to be potatoes (roast potatoes or chips)

          2. re: Soop

            I keep a can of Morton's salt for these occasions. I usually use Kosher for savory dishes, and I use fine sea salt for baking because it incorporates into doughs faster.

            1. re: Kelli2006

              That reminds me, I bought some table salt for baking bread. God knows where it went. But I can't use sea salt without cracking it in a twister; the thought of hitting a big pocket of salt... O__O

              1. re: Soop

                There are finely grained sea salts too--try the bulk section of the health food store (common in the US, don't know about the UK).

                1. re: Caralien

                  I buy fine sea salt in 3 lb bags at the co-op.

      2. We don't buy regular table salt (Mortons) any longer. Even Hain's sea salt is preferable to us, and is fairly cheap ($1.50/26oz tube) considering that the tube lasts over a year because it's only used for brining or boiling water.

        Sea salt simply tastes better--sweeter and not metallic . There are some which are sold at insane prices and meant to be used as a final flavouring/decoration, but we really don't see the point of getting table salt any longer.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Caralien

          I agree. Morton's tastes too metallic so we don't get table salt any more. We use coarse sea salt in our cooking, and very little of it. Nothing on the table. I just bought our first new canister of sea salt in over a year.

        2. I've used kosher salt forever. Most chefs used that - probably still do - except that sea salt got to be trendy and then really frou-frou.
          Kosher salt is reasonably priced, free of (most) additives, has a decent-sized grain so it's easy to see and measure.
          Sea salt is too expensive to use when you're throwing it into something you're cooking where it's going to dissolve into all the other ingredients and get lost.
          It's all NaCl. Same mineral. Some sea salts have trace minerals but really!!! They are so minor that there's no way you could taste them.
          Save the sea salt for the table.

          I used to use table salt for baking because measurements in recipes were given for that type of salt. Kosher, fine sea, and table salt do measure differently - minor but enough to be noticeable - and kosher grains don't dissolve in some baked good. Ick!
          Now, I use fine sea salt for baking and use less than the recipe calls for to accommodate the difference in measuring. Guesswork.

          BTW, the reason for adding salt to pasta water is to flavor the pasta. As it cooks, the salted water re-hydrated the dried pasta and gets into the strands. You can actually taste the difference and it makes for a more well-balanced dish. Not necessary with fresh pasta, but I think it's essential with dried varieties. Plain old kosher does the trick.

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