Over the past three weeks, we've seen the science behind how salt works, the value of specialty salt, and the incredible variety of flavored salts. If your appetite's whetted and you've purchased some specialty salt of your own, this week's Salt Mining is devoted to making your salty investment work best for you.
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The jury may be out on the human tongue's ability to negotiate the subtle differences of specialty sea salts—though I think we definitely can—but there's no doubt in my mind about the whizz-bang effect of flavored salts. I say "flavored" because this broad category of salts delivers powerful flavors, be they minerals, infused ingredients, or special cooking methods. When I'm shelling out for specialty salt, these are the crystals I'm most likely to reach for.
If some are to be believed, any cook worth his or her ... well ... salt has at least one or two specialty sea salts in the cupboard. Others will tell you this is all balderdash, that salt is salt, and the difference in flavor between specialty salts is too subtle for us to taste. So what's a cook to believe?
At Serious Eats we have a thing for our salt. And rightly so. Salt is pretty awesome stuff, at the very core of what so much of cooking is about. For the next few weeks, Spice Hunting will be Salt Mining, an exploration of the enormous breadth of culinary salts available to cooks. Along the way we'll take a nod to science, dispel some myths, and consider why salt is one of the most important edible substances on Earth.