While I was still a young little ninny of a 19 yr old teenager in my first Semester of Culinary School .. I was given the opportunity to be a part of a Salt Tasting ..as teenagers go I thought the whole idea of such a notion was silly but I followed the pack and joined in ..to this day, this curious experience is etched in my brain ..I cannot recall the exact details of every salt presented but I believe their was aprx ten different varietals [which rocked my little world!] ..the recollection that burned in my brain all these years is the taste of the standard iodized salt ...which was not offered until the very end- it was the absolute worst most cringeworthy taste of them all ..all of the others were surprisingly milder ..and the Chef who taught the presentation whom explained which types of foods would go best with each particular salt (crazy?) ..then proceeded to explain what was the one and only item iodized table salt was used for in the restaurant ...salting pans! Yikes...
Children are scientifically proven to have a higher tolerance and particular love of salt & sugar ..the more the better! ..I remember buying little baggies at the corner store filled with 5cent candies and eating them all in one sitting without much notice ..and then downing a huge sugary Slurpee to boot! If I were to do that now ..my stomache might never ever forgive me ...Yes salt is an important part of my food preparation for my little boy because I know that a bowl of oatmeal with puddles of melted butter and drizzles of maple syrup that is finished with nice flakes of crunchy salt take said oatmeal to a whole new level! ..Oh that salty Yum factor..
"Many are the ways and many the recipes for dressing Hares; but this is the best of all, to place before a hungry set of guests a slice of roasted meat fresh from the spit, hot, season'd only with plain, simple salt....All other ways are quite superfluous, such as when cooks pour a lot of sticky, clammy sauce upon it."
“Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea.”
[Pythagoras 580 BC - 500 BC]
..and without further ado, my personal favorites :
- Maldon Salt from England -or- Cyprus salt flakes -
[the King! of finishing salts, crushed over the top of sliced duck or tomato ...at the last possible minute just before taking a bite to be able to savour its crunchy lovely light saltiness ..usually only available at specialty food stores]
- Sel Gris - Grey Salt -
[a beautiful French salt with a light greyish coarse chunky texture from Guerande Brittany ..many would argue the Fleur de Sel to be superior but I fell in awe of the Gris Sel for it's moist almost oily texture ..and it's incredible silky mounds of grey powder when ground]
- Kosher Salt -
[also a lovely finishing crunchy salt and cooking salt but waaaay less expensive than Maldon Salt ..so you can afford to use it as much as you like and it is available at any supermarket]
- Fennel Salt -
[a semi ground sea salt with coarse ground toasted Fennel seeds - this little gem of a salt changed my life!]
- Sea Salt -
[as with the above salts the Sea Salt is unrefined so none of the natural minerals and nutrients are lost ..and comes in a variety of finely ground to coarse ground options]
"Of all smells, bread; of all tastes, salt."
[George Herbert, English poet 1593-1633]