September 22, 2016 • By Seamus Mullen
In this day and age we’re quick to demonize salt. You wouldn’t believe the number of times my friends tell me they go to the doctor and are told to cut their salt consumption. While excess salt is certainly not a good thing, salt is a really amazing and even essential, spice.
We can’t live without it (try living without sugar instead and you actually might be able to see through walls and walk on water, but I’ll save that for another blog post!) Salt is the only odorless spice and it’s played such a crucial role in modern history that at times it’s been one of the most highly valued commodities. In his amazing book Salt, Mark Kurlansky traces the history of this incredible mineral and the impact it’s had on the rise and fall of kingdoms.
In the kitchen, salt, and in particular excellent quality sea salt (not that iodized table salt crap), is prized. When we chefs season, we season with authority, we season from up high, we season to bring out all the nuanced flavors in the ingredients we’re cooking with. I couldn’t do my job without salt which is why at any given time, you’re likely to find upwards of 10 varieties in my salt drawer (yes, I do in fact have a drawer in my kitchen devoted exclusively to salt.)
Flakey salt for textural crunch on top of a roasted yam, delicate pink salt on a sliver of raw fish, funky black garlic salt on some thinly sliced heirloom tomatoes with a fried egg. The salt is often the unsung hero of a successful dish.
If you're looking for a great sea salt to add to your pantry, I recommend Jacobsen Salt Co. Their flavorful salt is harvested on the Oregon Coast and is a staple in my kitchen due to the wide variety of textures and flavors.