Salt is used as a flavour enhancer in cooking and for adding a finishing touch to a gastronomic creation, such as Black Salt. Most often cooks grab traditional cooking (iodised) salt for their everyday cooking. The reasons below will prove that sea salt is your perfect kitchen companion.
Unlike other types of salt, such as some rock salts which are mined from ancient seabeds, sea salt really does come from the sea. You don’t need anything other than sea water, wind and sun. The sea salt that we use today is produced through the evaporation of sea water or water from saltwater lakes. Depending on the water source, this leaves behind certain trace minerals and elements. You will find that some sea salts are pink in colour due to trace amounts of magnesium, calcium and potassium. These minerals also add a subtle flavour to the salt. The sea salt is then harvested and cleaned. It is a centuries-old method that is used worldwide and is kept alive today. This is an ecologically sound and sustainable method to produce salt.
In Australia there are quite a number of producers of excellent quality sea salt, at Gourmet Goldmine we sell South Australian Coarse Sea Salt, among other salts and spices. I guess this comes back to Adelaide being my home for 40 years.
The flavour of sea salt is slightly boulder than regular iodised table salt. Although both salts mainly consist of sodium chloride, sea salt has a more complex composition. Apart from sodium chloride it also contains minerals and trace elements. These give sea salt a different texture and mouthfeel.
Sea salt is naturally available in different grain sizes. The unrefined sea salt is washed, dried, broken and sieved. This creates a wide range of different grain sizes. For instance, there is fine ground (small crystals) sea salt for daily use, coarse (large crystals) sea salt for salt mills and flakes that are crushed and rained over your dish.
Sea salt is often underestimated in daily cooking. Its unique characteristics make it the ideal addition to nay meal, even desserts. Just imagine an oozy gooey salted caramel lava cake or an espresso mousse with a salted chocolate cookie base.