For the good cook, the main difference between types of salt is texture. Sea salt and kosher salt have, essentially, the same texture. There is little difference chemically between types of culinary salt; they are at least 97-½ per cent sodium chloride. But, the differences in handling, presentation, and enjoyment are almost countless and wonderful to behold.
Salt is inherently kosher when gathered from either mines or sea water. It contains no preservatives, additives or anti-clumping agents, but is the naturally savory element that flavors or preserves food without compromising the kosher integrity of the dish.
However, unless your recipe is explicitly written for coarse salt, it cannot be used as a direct flavor substitute for table salt; the fine grains of table salt produce a more reliable measurement and more acceptable cooking or baking results.
Coarse salt, whether kosher salt, sea salt, or kosher sea salt, is an ideal garnish for the rim of a Margarita glass, a crunchy, savory topping for bakery products, or for binning meat.
A mixture of kosher salt and water forms the crust for roasting fish with a savory and luscious result. You need only envelope a sizable (2-3 pounds) center cut of salmon in its own oven of salt and water paste that is at least ¼ inch thick. Arrange the fish on an oven-proof baking dish. Bake in a hot (500-degree) oven for at least 30 minutes or until the fish tests done or 130-degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Brush off the salt, drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.
Used in a salt grinder, coarse sea salt is a perfect finishing fillip for any dish that benefits from a bit of savory crunch. Make this your “house” savory and enjoy the compliments and the subtle and not-so-subtle questions of what makes your food so special:
Use: 3 Tablespoons of mixed pink, white, and black peppercorns (I found them from McCormick at the supermarket.) and 3 tablespoons coarse salt. Toast in a small, dry skillet over medium heat until peppers begin to smoke and smell deliciously toasty. Cool and serve in a salt grinder.
Middle Eastern cooks are famous for toasting spices to enhance and blend flavors, and although it does not seem to be a concern in these areas, the lurking and apparently growing concern about contaminated spices should be eliminated by this gentle toasting to a fairly high temperature. Get to know this delicious little fillip and everybody wins.
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