Salt of the Earth

Several years ago I wrote a piece for Slate.com about Salt. A ran a battery of salt tests—a bitter battle, if you will, on two coasts, during which time, I assaulted myself and others with salt. I was obsessed, and also very thirsty.

I sought to discover if there was any real difference in taste between ordinary table salt and expensive fancy salt. I had read Jeffrey Steingarten’s essay, in which he wished to answer that same question, but I disagreed with his methods. As I recall (it’s been a while since I’ve read it) he dissolved the salts in water and then had supertasters/experts taste the solution. The differences were pretty much imperceptible.

Maldon's flaky crystals (I shot it in macro mode on a blue plate)

But so much of what we taste with salt is actually its texture. So, I designed a whole series of tests (you can read the article here) that tested for texture and for flavor. I honestly surprised myself to find a consistent winner, Maldon, which turns out to be the “chef’s choice” of salts.

When to use it? It’s really a “finishing” salt – I sprinkle it on everything that leaves my kitchen before it hits the table.

Maldon, worth its salt

Like this morning on my omelet with feta, cherry tomatoes (some of the final ones of the season from the garden—yes, in LA I am still picking cherry tomatoes in January) and my $3 basil plant from Trader Joe’s that’s been happily thriving in my kitchen for months.  Sorry, no photo, it was too tasty to not eat immediately.

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