Getting Salty

best salt cellar

best salt cellar

Salt. Oh, how I love thee. Salt makes everything taste better— steak, cookies, broccoli and bouillabaisse. It comes back to my whole philosophy of eating fresh food — all it takes is a few quality additions, like salt, to make fresh ingredients taste simply amazing.

Not all salts are created equal and it’s worth a few additions to your pantry if you find your salt mines falling a short. Here’s what you’ll find in my kitchen.

best kosher salt

Everyday Salt

Kosher salt has a permanent place in my pantry. In general most cooks prefer it because it’s more granular, making it easy to pour into a container and pinch away. It’s good to note that not all kosher salts are created equal. Out of the three most familiar brands, David’s, Morton’s and Diamond Crystal, I prefer Diamond Crystal. It’s less dense and therefore, a little less salty—after some salt sleuthing, I discovered that Diamond Crystal contains 280 mg of sodium per serving vs. a whopping 480 mg per serving found in Morton’s. A good three-finger pinch of this salt on your steak tastes delicious, rather than super salty. Diamond Crystal kosher salt also has jagged edges, which makes for great texture and quick dissolving.

finishing salt

Finishing Sea Salt

Super-tasty, super-beautiful and super-delicate is my high tech description of finishing salt. Look for the salts like Jacobsen from Oregon and Maldon Sea Salt from England that are big and flaky — kind of how I feel right about now. Those big flakes add wonderful texture, a little crunch and help bring out the incredible flavor in whatever you are preparing. Almond Chocolate Clusters with Sea Salt, anyone?  I’ll cook with kosher salt and finish with flaky sea salt; it’s also nice to fill a little bowl with one of these special salts and bring it to the table, guests enjoying grabbing their own pinch.

In January, it easy to feel a little shopped out. However, choosing a new kosher and/or finishing salt is a worthwhile small indulgence during this month of recalibration. Some of my go-to winter sides like Oven Potato WedgesJazzed-Up Roasted Cauliflower and Warm Broccoli Stem Salad all benefit from a good layering of salt. It’s all it takes to lift these humble veggies to showstopper status. An added bonus, a great sprinkle of salt can make all those healthy veggies and lean proteins taste great as you detox off the last six weeks of cookies and cocktails…although a sprinkle of sea salt on chocolate chip cookies is divine….

finishing salt

Santa put this salt in my stocking — love that guy!