Every great chef is a fan of using salt to reveal, and enhance, the flavor of almost everything they cook. The top barbecue chefs only use salt and pepper as their rub of choice.
But, the question is...what salt do you use, and when?
There's regular table salt, kosher, and sea (crystalline, flaked, or fleur de sel)...not to mention flavored finishing salts.
Enter your text here...
How do you choose?
Fortunately, it's fairly simple when you add salt to the food as one of the ingredients when you cook. You can use either table salt or kosher salt. Most chefs choose kosher salt because it's easier to sprinkle just the amount you want onto the food you're cooking.
When you are following a recipe, unless otherwise stated, the salt measurement in the recipe is for regular table salt. So, if you prefer to use kosher salt instead, take into consideration that kosher salt weighs less per measure than table salt.
To further complicate the matter, different brands of kosher salt have a different weight per measure.
- Morton's kosher salt weighs 2/3 of table salt per measure. That means you need to add 1 1/2 times the amount of salt called for in the recipe.
- Diamond Crystal kosher salt weighs half of what table salt weighs per measure. That means you need to add 2 times the amount of this salt called for in the recipe.
- One more tidbit to consider between these two brands: Morton's contains a 1% added "free-flow" ingredient to prevent caking called calcium silicate. Diamond Crystal does not—that's why I prefer Diamond Crystal.
If I put my kosher salt in a smaller container it's a lot easier to use than pouring from the box. It's not only easier to scoop when you measure, but it's also easier to use when you sprinkle it on top of your food.
If you watch the professional chefs on TV, you see they don't measure the salt—they just put some between their thumb and forefinger and sprinkle it onto the uncooked food from above.
Here are a couple of salt containers that I find work well:
Prepara Salt Container
RSVPEndurance® Salt Server
Types of Salt
Let's dive down a little more into the different types of salt and when to use which salt. Believe it or not, it does make a difference and it will show off another dimension of your master chef skills.
When to salt your food...
Here's a video from America's Test Kitchen that tells you when to salt the food you are cooking and why it's important to understand this.
If you don't subscribe to America's Test Kitchen magazine, Cook's Illustrated, consider it. Especially if you like to understand the 'why' behind getting the great results for everything you cook. I've not only had a subscription to Cook's Illustrated for a long time, I also have several of their cookbooks...they're my cooking bibles.
Sea salt—what's it good for?
All salt came from the sea at one time, but most of the salt we use for cooking and put into our salt shakers comes from land-based salt mines. It turns out, these salt mines were under the ocean.
OK, that's the history lesson for the day.
The question we're looking to answer here is: "when should we use salt that still comes from the sea?" Well, here's a short video that answers that very question:
What the heck is a "finishing salt"?
A finishing salt is what it sounds like—after plating the food, put salt on the food before serving it. But, not just any salt. The best way to describe it is to see it...
Here's another take on finishing salts from the Culinary Institute of America
Here are a couple of the finishing salts that I love:
Here's one that is great on fish:
Enter your text here...