You can't have a conversation about cooking without mentioning this magical ingredient. Salt is the unsung hero that brings harmony to our dishes, elevating flavours and making everything taste just right.
As we all know, salt is a flavour enhancer, a taste amplifier if you will. It has the remarkable ability to make other ingredients sing in perfect harmony. A pinch of salt can transform a bland soup into a soul-soothing elixir or turn a simple tomato salad into a burst of summertime delight. It balances sweetness, tames bitterness, and rounds out the flavours, allowing them to shine like culinary superstars.
But salt doesn't stop at flavour enhancement; it's also a texture wizard. It has this incredible knack for extracting moisture, which is a game-changer. Salt also plays a role s in preserving and curing. Back in the day, before refrigeration ruled the kitchen kingdom, salt was the OG preservative. It inhibits bacterial growth, prolonging the shelf life of foods and allowing us to enjoy delicacies like cured meats, pickles, and fermented goodies.
But not all salts are created equal. There's a whole world of salts out there waiting to be explored. From delicate flakes of fleur de sel to the bold, smoky goodness of smoked salt, each variety brings its unique character to the table.
Explore these 5 different types of salt and how to use them:
1. Sea Salt:
Sea salt is harvested from evaporated seawater and is available in various forms, including fine grain, coarse grain, and flakes. It retains trace minerals and has a distinctive flavour profile. Sea salt works well as a finishing salt, adding a final touch of texture and flavour to dishes like salads, roasted vegetables, and grilled meats. It can also be used in baking or as a rimming salt for cocktails.
2. Himalayan Pink Salt:
Himalayan pink salt is mined from ancient salt deposits in the Himalayan Mountains. It gets its pink hue from trace minerals like iron. This salt is commonly used for seasoning and cooking. It can be ground and used as everyday table salt or added to brines, marinades, and rubs for meats. The larger crystals are ideal for salt crusts on baked goods or for grilling.
3. Kosher Salt:
Kosher salt has a coarse texture and is widely used in Jewish cuisine. It is called "kosher" not because it complies with Jewish dietary laws but because it is commonly used in the koshering process of meat. Kosher salt is versatile and is used in a wide range of applications, including cooking, baking, and curing. It dissolves quickly and evenly, making it ideal for brines and seasoning large cuts of meat.
4. Fleur de Sel:
Fleur de sel, meaning "flower of salt" in French, is a premium sea salt known for its delicate flavour and light, flaky texture. It is hand-harvested by skimming the top layer of salt from salt ponds. Fleur de sel is primarily used as a finishing salt. Sprinkle it over grilled fish, salads, or even desserts like caramel or chocolate to add a touch of elegance and crunch.
5. Smoked Salt:
Smoked salt is infused with smoky flavours, adding a unique twist to dishes. It is typically made by cold-smoking sea salt over aromatic woods like hickory or mesquite. The smoky aroma complements grilled meats, vegetables, or even popcorn. Smoked salt can also be used to enhance the flavour of soups, stews, and sauces, giving them a rich and complex taste.