If I have learned one thing while watching cooking shows for ages, reading food blogs and experimenting in the kitchen it is the power of salt. Salt is the key to flavoring any food, not by making it salty, but enhancing the natural flavors. In this article on Serious Eats they say, “A proper salting results in being able to taste the ingredients better, not the salt.”
If there’s anyone who is an expert on salt, it is Jessica Helgeson. Jessica and her mom joined their passion for salt through a blog and Youtube channel called SEE SALT ®. They have been using their signature fleur de sel for over 15 years, but just recently began packaging it to share with their audience. When I first heard of Jessica’s brand last fall at the Phoenix Flea in Arizona, I immediately loved her “modern and approachable awareness to finishing salt.”
Wondering what this fancy French word fleur de sel means? This type of sea salt translates to “flower of salt” and is the most premium and delicate in flavor and texture. SEE SALT’s fleur de sel is hand harvested off the coast of Ile de Re, France, only being processed by the sand and sun.
I had some questions about the types of salt and how to use them bes. Jessica was kind enough to do a Q&A with me and I cannot wait for you to read!
Gab: Help us understand the difference between salts–table salt, sea salt and finishing salt.
Jessica: There are three main salt categories–table salt, regular sea salt/kosher salt and then finishing salt. Gram-per-gram, table salt, sea salt and finishing salts have the same amount of sodium. However, per teaspoon, sea salt and finishing salts typically contain less sodium. The main differences between any salt is the processing, texture, flavor and iodine content.
Generic table salt is mined from the ground. It typically has been heavily processed, bleached and heated up to 1200 degrees that all the healthy trace elements have been stripped. This leaves you with nothing but high sodium content and additives like iodine.
It is important to be weary of a label just simply saying “sea salt.” Often these salts have not truly been harvested from the sea and have likely undergone processing and stripping of natural electrolytes as well adding chemicals for anti-clumping.
Finishing salts are considered premium salts in flavor, texture and health benefits. The fleur de sel is the very top layer of the salt marsh making it most delicate in flavor and texture. The salt is naturally rich with minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iodine, silica oxide, potassium and iron. Using a nice finishing salt is simply the easiest thing you can do to enhance the flavors of your food.
When we’re cooking, should we use the same amount of salt whether it’s table salt or sea salt or finishing salt?
Actually, you most likely will use less finishing salt because you are only using a pinch to season your food at the end. The flavor is far more condensed but yet much less salty! So its a total win-win.
Many people are afraid of over salting their food, but end up not flavoring dishes enough. Why is salt so important in cooking?
Adding a pinch of good salt to your dishes is the simplest, most cost effective way to add flavor to your food. It will enhance all flavors and create a natural crave-worthy dish. Properly and sufficiently salting your dish is a simple chef secret that is so easy to do if you have a great finishing salt at hand.
What are your three favorite ways to use finishing salt?
First and foremost it is important to point out where to keep your fleur de sel finishing salt. It is meant to be kept on your counter next to your stove so you reach for it and use it daily. It is not meant to be savored to the point of forgetting you even have it in the back of the spice cabinet. Once you start incorporating it into your cooking you will have a very hard time reaching for a salt shaker or any other salt again.
I start with a pinch of SEE SALT ® on my scrambled eggs in the morning. I scramble my eggs with a splash of half and half or heavy cream. It is perfection. For lunch, I love a great summer salad with peaches, avocado, fresh mozzarella and a pinch of our salt. At dinner, it’s a hot charcoal grilled steak finished with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Oh my word. Don’t forget a pinch of salt on your dessert. Adding a pinch of our fleur de sel to chocolate chip cookies or shortbread is the perfect way to balance and bring out sweetness.
Where is the coolest place you or someone you know has taken the Take Along Tin?
We love this question!! Our take a long tin has been spotted a couple of times in Sweden and is often spotted on the Oregon coast. We love to re-share where you take your Take Along Tin on our Instagram @seesatttv #pinchme.
Jessica has some pretty exciting plans for SEE SALT. Her and her mom are launching their own cocktail salt collection officially this spring. These cocktail salts will be seasonally based and will have some very original flavor profiles. “Because honestly, who wants plain ol’ salt on their artisan cocktail?!” she says.
SEE SALT + Gourmet Gab Giveaway
Head over to my Instagram to enter to win a SEE SALT fleur de sel package and Take Away Tin, plus a Gourmet Gab sticker and recipe card! All you have to do is follow me and Jessica on Instagram (@gourmet_gab and @seesalttv). Then comment on my most recent image by tagging a friend and telling us your favorite way to use salt! I will announce the winner on Friday at 1:00 pm EST!
Before we sign off, my question for you readers–are you using enough salt? The best way to learn how much salt to use: add more than you think you need to! Start experimenting on simple, expensive things like scrambled eggs. Pour an amount into your hands, grab it with a pinch of three fingers (thumb, index and middle) and sprinkle it onto the food. This will help you get the feel for the amount you’re using. Bring you hands up about a foot away from the food to ensure even seasoning, and look like a pro!
Thank you to Jessica for being a part of this special salt feature on Gourmet Gab and don’t forget to check out SEE SALT’s website. To win your own set comment on this Instagram now!
Love food. Love self. Love life.