What kind of salt should I use? | Chef's Quick Guide to Salt



The topic of salts can get confusing really fast.


If you’re not a chef it seems like every chef makes a big fuss about salt. (At least that’s what I thought when I first stepped into the culinary world.) 

And that’s because salt is SUPER important. In the book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat not only is salt highlighted first, but author, Samin, italicizes this like it's her religion: “Salt has a greater impact on flavor than any other ingredient.”


So, not only is about the type of salt we use, but when.


You can’t just add all the salt at the end. You need to add as you go because salt actually creates chemical changes needed for cooking.


What’s the best salt?



I’ve done the research and found time and time again that sea salt tends to be the winner. Especially Himalayan sea salt. It has more minerals than other salts and those can help certain functions in our body perform at their best like maintaining healthy blood pressure and aid in muscle and nerve functions.


Isn’t having too much salt bad?



Unless you have high blood pressure, you don't really need to watch your salt… well, there is a catch. Home cooked foods contain MUCH less salt than processed foods like chips, grocery store raviolis, top ramen, and sauces. You'll even find high salt levels in packaged baked goods.


The more wholefoods you eat- that is fruits and vegetables in their natural state, the less you have to be concerned about the amount of salt you're intaking.


What salt do I recommend?



I highly recommend a good sea salt. Not necessarily the ones in the bulk section of the grocery, but like a Himalayan pink sea salt or other high quality sea salt. The salt I currently use is from Utah and I really like it. I get it from Thrive Market. 


Besides sea salt I would use Kosher salt. Many chefs love this salt because it's larger crystals and it's easier to grab.

Use less of this salt...


The salt I would suggest you stay away from is table salt, like Morton. It has anti-caking elements, so it doesn't clump up in the salt shaker, and contains other additives, too.


I’ll use it sparingly for things like salting pasta water, but some people say that it imparts a metallic taste into the food you’re cooking. 

I still use it because this salt has iodine, an essential mineral that prevents goiter. (Sea salt and kosher salt don’t contain iodine) But generally I stay away from it. 

Fancy Salts


If you want to be fancy, you can invest in fleur de sel or “flower of salt” which are large, flaky crystals used to finish dishes. It has a nice crunch to it when you bite it. And it has a nice, clean flavor. 

Sometimes I like to put this salt on my oatmeal bowl with blueberries and maple syrup. It gives a “salted caramel” flavor and it makes oatmeal a treat.

But mostly it’s used to top a steak after it’s done or a perfectly soft boiled egg to take it over the top!

Summary


Whether you are a fanatic about your salts, or not, it's very helpful to learn how and when to salt your foods. 

Adding the right amount of salt determines whether a chef is just "good" or great. 


Stick with a good sea salt or Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal is good) for the best flavor and purest form of salt.

Let me know how it goes!



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