Why Are Finishing Salts Used in Different Situations?

Various salt types in 4 wooden spoons on white marble.

When you’re tasting a recipe, what do you think is missing, but you can’t identify it? Why not try adding a pinch of salt and see if it makes a difference. You’re probably correct, and that’s because salt enhances the taste of sweet or savory ingredients alike. The best salt for all-purpose cooking is kosher salt, which is excellent for pasta water, sauces, soups, and more. Having the least salty salt reduces the likelihood of oversalting any dish you prepare. Find out more at lafayettespices.com.

There is another category of salts known as finishing salts, including salts such as Maldon, fleur de sel, Himalayan pink, and grinding salt. (Our test kitchen team prefers Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt.) Finished recipes benefit from these final touches, both in terms of texture and flavor.

Maldon Salt

From England’s south coast comes maldon salt, which is widely available. The flakes are large and coarse, and chefs praise it for adding crunch and blending with any dish. Serve it as an unexpected contrast to Tropical-Fruit Juice Salad or as part of Skillet Steak with Pink Peppercorn Butter.

Sel Gris

Sel gris is an unrefined gray salt that has a gray color derived from clay-lined salt ponds in France, where it is harvested. Sel gris are available in different grain sizes. Both Maldon Salt and fleur de sel have a very similar taste and texture, but fleur de sel has a lot more minerality.

Fleur de Sel

“Flower of salt” is the name given to both fine and coarse crystals of this renowned finishing salt. This salty-sweet spice is wonderful on steamed vegetables or as a garnish on a chocolate ganache cake to bring out the sweet-and-salty sweetness. In contrast to machine-harvested varieties, true fleur de sel-such as Fleur de Sel de Guérande-is harvested by hand using wooden rakes from salt marshes on the coasts of Brittany, France. Fleur de sel is the saltiest of the finishing salts profiled here.

The pink Himalayan salt

Compared to other types of salt, Himalayan pink salt tastes milder and slightly sweeter. This salt is typically sold in the form of coarse flakes or as larger rocks that you can grater over popcorn or grilled fish. Despite its claims of being a healthier and cleaner salt than other options, there is no hard evidence to support these claims.

Grinding Salt

There are a variety of grinding salts available; a grinding salt has large, dry crystals, instead of delicate flakes, for use in salt grinders. Table salt can be replaced by grinding salt for a more luxurious look.

 

 

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