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Thursday, September 24, 2009

For the Love of Grey Salt

Admittedly, I'm not a big salter. I've really never been into adding extra salt to anything and I am very careful about how much added salt I put in the food I make. I really hate iodized salt, you know that stuff in the cylindrical blue container? I'm OK on kosher salt though. I use it as my go to salt. But when I feel a bit naughty, it's all about the grey salt.

I've only ever bought a special salt once. Well and I didn't even buy the one I was supposed to buy. I saw someone make a cake on Martha that was a salted chocolate cake. Now, I'm a big proponent of the chocolate/salt combo and this sounded really good to me. The recipe called for Fleur de sel. Have you ever bought this? Well, it's about $18 for an ounce or so. Needless to say, I didn't buy it when I saw how much it was. I did make the cake and salt or not, I wasn't real crazy about it. It sounded better on paper. Don't get me wrong, I did buy a fancy French salt for the cake. It just didn't blow me away.

At any rate, being the food show watcher that I am, I noticed that Michael Chiarello exclusively uses grey salt. I got to wondering what the big deal about it was and why he liked it so much. So I did a little research (and if you know more about it, by all means, do tell!) and found that grey salt is also called sel gris or Celtic salt. Celtic salt refers to naturally moist salts harvested from Atlantic seawater off the coast of Brittany, France. It is rich in mineral content, are hand harvested using the Celtic method (thus the name) of wooden rakes allowing no metal to touch the salt. They can be available from very course to very fine. Mine is course.

So, on one of my trips to Penzey's, I saw that they sell French grey salt in manageable, affordable quantities so I decided to give it a try.

Inevitably I find that if I put grey salt in something I have made, Nick will comment and ask what I did differently (in a good way). He's so used to my limited salting that I usually don't even tell him "it's the salt!" and just brag about my culinary expertise and thank him for the compliments.

I find that a little goes a long way. The course texture has a nice hand feel and it's a little moist which I found off putting at first, but now I rather like that feel.

If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend you give it a try. Turns out Michael Chiarello knew what he was talking about.

1 comment:

Judy said...

I use grey salt on almost everything, but I don't oversalt. I love the flavor and can't imagine using anything else. Can't believe the difference it makes.