The World of Artisanal Salt
On every table from a dining table to a high-end, upscale restaurant, there is always this seasoning ingredient: salt. A seemingly basic and boring substance added to enhance bland food or flavors, salt is often misunderstood by the average person. Contrary to common belief, salt isn’t just salt. It is the essence of all good things in cooking and in life. As human beings, our bodies cannot live without salt, however, one should be mindful as too much sodium intake may result in high blood pressure.
My personal salt collection and dreams of becoming a salt connoisseur began when I first visited the salt flats of Death Valley. Tricked into trying the salt of the basin, a regret I still have to this day, I started researching the origins of salt and its chemical properties.
Long past were the days I believed that all salt came from a glass shaker on my dinner table. Long gone were the days in which I believed that there was only one type of salt. So, let’s dive right in to the world of artisanal salt!
From finishing salts to enhance flavors in a culinary masterpiece to salts used to preserve fish and meat, there are countless types and different uses for salt. Table salt is the most commonly used class of salt. It is often harvested from underground salt deposits and are made to be highly refined and grounded.
Next up, there is a variety of sea salt which can be much coarser than table salt and often not refined to the extent of table salt. With a much stronger kick of flavors that make a beautifully complex and intricate taste profile, sea salt has many more added minerals from the evaporated sea water they're harvested from. Keeping with the properties of sea salt, sel gris is my personal favorite. French for “grey salt”, this premier garnish is a specialty on thick, juicy cuts of meat and fish as its briny finish and moist grains bring a delectable flavor to a dish.
Far more expensive and luxurious than the previously mentioned salts, truffle salt is especially coveted for its rich aromatic qualities and earthy, truffle tastes.
These are only just a few samplers of my current collection and of the whole world of artisanal salts. There are plenty of interesting and exotic salts that are unique to specific cultures and regions of the world. While these artisanal salts do not come cheap, I managed to save my allowances and paychecks for a mini splurge whenever I could get into contact with a selmelier or discover a treasure at a local farmers market. Not once was I disappointed with the exciting new sensations that each jar of salt introduced to my taste buds. Spice collections are far too boring and passionless now; instead, how about starting an artisanal salt collection? Of course, you don’t have to, but at least take my advice with a grain of salt.