What is the difference between sea salt and table salt? You may have wondered this last time you were at the grocery store and noticed shelf after shelf of gourmet seasoning salts.
While table salt and sea salt have the same basic nutritional value, sea salt is typically marketed as a natural, healthier alternative. While there is no real health benefit to choosing sea salt over table salt, there are differences in taste and texture that some home cooks prefer.
According to The Spice House in Chicago, IL, salt is a mineral, not a spice. It has become an important player in the culinary game since it does not lose its flavor over time, as is typical of some herbs and spices.
While it is important to limit sodium in your diet, indulging in high-quality sea salt for your favorite recipes is a great way to add flavor and depth to your favorite dishes.
Fleur de Sel French Sea Salt: Literally translated to “flower of salt,” this salt is considered the “caviar of salt” and is hand-harvested in France from the finest salt crystals available. It is produced in very small qualities and can be on the high end of the price spectrum, however it will also draw out the complex, full flavors of other ingredients in a dish.
French Grey Sea Salt: A variety often used in pickling, canning and preserving, this coarse, wet and unrefined salt smells like the sea. To use it for grinding, it should be dried out in the sun or in your oven at home. In France, home cooks usually place it on the table in a small bowl so that diners can season their meals.
Hawaiian Sea Salt: When we think of salt we typically think of small, white crystals. Premium Hawaiian natural sea salt has several varieties, including black lava salt and the red alaea clay salt, both with delicious unique flavors. Hawaiian sea salt is a product of its “terroir,” a term typically used in wine-making to describe the soil in which the grapes are grown. Black sea salt has a somewhat nutty flavor while the red presents a nice sweet finish.
Truffle Salt: Truffle oil is an elegant accoutrement to dishes on menus all over the world, but the rich, earthy flavor of truffle salt adds depth to even the simplest scrambled eggs, french fries or soups. For a real treat, add a tiny pinch to your favorite popcorn on your next at-home movie night.
February 11th, 2011