Our use of salt has changed over time. At Rupperts we used primarily Kosher Salt for cooking, offered French Fleur de Sel on the tables and used Maldon Sea Salt Flakes to finish salads. Looking back I realize that we have been using a variety of salts for different purposes for awhile. Several years ago we switched from kosher salt to a fine sea salt as our everyday go to salt and have been slowly introducing one new salt after another into our pantry. Some of these salts have been purposefully sought out and others have come our way as gifts from generous friends. The salts vary greatly in both flavor and texture and impact cooking.
Many years ago I visited a man who sells precious and semi-precious stones out of his basement in Takoma Park. He also had small bags of finely ground pink himalayan salt for sale, this was the first time I had ever seen it, before it was available at every Whole Foods. I was immediately captivated by the color and once I started using it discovered that the mellow deep flavor was ideal for some salads and in pastry.
About 5 years ago a friend and client who travels internationally for work brought me black salt from a spice market in India. Initially I was repelled by the sulphury smell but then decided that it might make a good sweet and salty biscotti. This cookie has become a staple ever since.
A few years ago when we were in LA we visited the La Sanctuaire and purchased a Japanese deep ocean sea salt that is incredibly intense but smooth. Since then we have collected a variety of salts from various Asian markets…we are currently using one variety of Korean salt that we have ground fine and in larger crystals. We also have another that is more of a flake that is ideal on raw fall vegetable salads made with Girasol, Brussel Sprouts, Celery Root…
After a friend gifted us a truffle salt a few years ago we started saving small leftover pieces of truffles and blending them with salt. Today I made a white bean puree and seasoned it with a salt laced with leftover Italian Burgundy Truffles pieces.
Last Christmas Derrick brought us a beautiful chunk of pink himalayan salt with a special grater that we like to use to season food once we are sitting at the table. Another recent addition was from a friend who attended a recent Home Restaurant and brought with her a gift of Sel de Guerande from Brittany (right on time since we were just finishing a bag that we had picked up at a farmers market in Amsterdam) that is moist with a mineraley taste that we are enjoying on fall greens both raw and cooked.
I must admit that there are a few more salts in our pantry that I have not mentioned…all of which we use regularly. When organizing last Sunday afternoon after a busy cooking weekend we made a salt bar for ourselves so we would have easy access to all the varieties. Tomorrow we start cooking for the weekends two Home Restaurants but I have already been enjoying the new salt set up just feeding the family over the last few days.