The Scoop on Salt
If you scroll through the recipes on the CHEF iQ App, you will see that we tend to use two kinds of salt in our recipes, kosher and flaky sea salt. When you’re shopping at the grocery store, it may seem difficult to decide what to put in your shaker. Below, learn the key differences when selecting your salt.
Kosher salt is our go-to for just about everything we cook or bake. Its name hails from its history of being used to make meat kosher. Its grains are larger than those of regular table salt, so you can easily grab a big pinch between your fingers, making it easy to sprinkle over a succulent steak. More importantly, its grains don't dissolve as quickly as the smaller grains of table salt, allowing you to see how much you are using while seasoning. And because it usually contains no additives, not even iodine, it tends to have a purer salty flavor.
If you only have table salt on hand, don’t worry! Use about half as much (by volume) of the finer table salt and the recipe should turn out spectacularly. If our recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, for example, start with 1 teaspoon of table salt. As with any time you use salt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. This is because you can always add more, but it’s nearly impossible to remove it!
Flaky Sea Salt
In many of our recipes, most often plates of pasta and starchy sides like our Garlic Mashed Potatoes, we call for a sprinkle of flaky sea salt right before serving. This finishing salt is optional, but it packs a pretty punch on any dish.
As opposed to kosher salt, which is often mined, sea salt results from a process of evaporating seawater. Sea salt crystals come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from pebble-like pieces to sand-sized grains. The salt has a clean, natural flavor, and an amazing audible crunch. This is a byproduct of the unique pyramid-shape of its crystals.
Unlike some hard sea salts, this flaky sea salt announces its presence but then easily yields to the bite. To get a sense of its amazing power, sprinkle a smidge on a pat of unsalted butter. Due to its special appearance and taste, it should only be used where it will be noticed, such as just before serving on a savory dish. Its large crystals also work well in desserts where you want a salty-sweet contrast. Try sprinkling a pinch on chocolate chip cookies just before baking. A little goes a long way and can make a dish go from great to gourmet.
Special Occasion Salts
Smoked Sea Salt: Sprinkle a little smoked salt on brownies or caramel sauce to add smoky intrigue.
French Grey Sea Salt: This salt is superb on steak or sliced tomatoes for flavor and crunch.
Himalayan Pink Salt: Use slabs of it to cook on or grind as a finishing salt.
Kala Namak or Lava Salt: Showcase its slight sulfurous flavor on pasta and potatoes.
Black Hawaiian Salt: Create a cool-looking contrast on light-colored meats like pork or on a white pizza.