There are many different types of salt that can be used when preparing dishes. However, when it comes down to it, salt is either mined from ancient seas that dried up years ago or evaporated from seawater. The main differences between salts are the color, flavor and texture. Sea salt and kosher salt tend to be larger crystals whereas salts like table salt tend to be very fine.
This type of salt is mined or harvested from the sea. As implied in the name, it is manufactured under rabbinical supervision making this another distinction from other salts. This salt consists of coarse and irregular crystals that are large in size. Due to the shape and texture, this salt is great to use for the koshering process because it draws blood and juices out of butchered meats.
Many cooks prefer to have this type of salt nearby because the large crystals make it easier to pinch and add to dishes throughout the preparation process. They also tend to think of this salt as having a pure and clean flavor that enhances the overall taste of the finished product.
This type of salt is harvest from evaporated seawater and undergoes very little processing. Seawater is often collected in large ponds or pans and as the water evaporates the salt crystals fall to the bottom. These crystals are then collected using a raking method. Due to the lack of thorough processing, this salt maintains minerals from the water which add flavor and color to the crystals. Oftentimes, this flavor and color are lost through the cooking process.
Table salt is mined from salt deposits and is made up of sodium chloride, iodine sources, stabilizers for the iodine and anti-caking compounds. Due to the fineness of the grain, a little bit of this salt goes a long way since there are more crystals in one measurement compared to Kosher or sea salt. This salt is placed on the table in a shaker next to the pepper shaker and is sprinkled on food to add more flavor to the finished dish.
Tips on Salt Usage
- Substitute 1 tablespoon of coarse or Kosher salt for 2 teaspoons of table salt.
- Use salt sparingly when cooking seafood since it tends to be naturally high in salt.
- Wait until water boils before adding salt into a pot prior to adding pasta or vegetables.
- Add unsalted liquid to an over-salted liquid dish and then toss in a peeled and quartered potato to reduce the amount of salt flavor. Discard the potato once enough of the saltiness has been absorbed.
- Use coarse or Kosher salt when salting meats. The texture will help caramelize the natural sugars in the meat while forming a crust that seals in the flavor and moisture.
To make it easier to add pinches of salt to dishes throughout the preparation process, I purchased a super cute salt cellar from Crate and Barrel (pictured). Whenever I'm getting ready to prepare a dish, I take off the lid and pinch away!
What are some tips and tricks that you use when cooking with salt?