Smoked Sea Salt

By Jillian Bernardini - Feb 10, 2014 - 01:38 PM
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My sister finds the most unique gifts and trinkets. Perhaps it's due to our completely opposing locations of the US, she's living in LA and I am freezing up here in Boston, so we experience different surroundings and encounter incomparable purveyors. Well, and she has a keen eye towards obscure, artisanal products, and damn good taste.

With my hours spent oogling at food magazines and trying new recipes in the kitchen, she knows that some of my favorite gifts to receive are cooking-related. To my suprise, the overflowing drawer of dried spices, herbs, and varying colors of peppercorns in my pantry is missing one thing in particular.

Smoked Sea Salt: a type of finishing salt that consists of larger flake, or fleur de sel, crystals that are smoked over wood chips before placing into jars or containers. I thought it appropriate that my sister gifts me a Chardonnay oak-smoked sea salt, living in California and all, which will begin to rival my current obsession of garnishing everything from my box of Maldon flaky sea salt. 

Never tasting a smoked sea salt before, the taste brings me back to summers in New Jersey, surrounding a bonfire with friends, and how encompassing that smoky, charred wood aroma can become and remain in every piece of clothing and strand of hair for days. It's potency is strong, but so toasty and complex.

With such a robust flavor, adding this salt as a final garnish and in small quantities is key. You want to add another depth of flavor to roasted vegetables or poultry, not overpower or wholly mask the star of your dish. I gave a generous sprinkle of this sea salt to my roasted Brussels Sprouts, and they almost tasted like an invisible bacon essence had been tossed in before plating.

This is a great product to add to your cooking repertoire, especially if your grill is covered in a foot of snow and your craving that smoky, charred taste in your wintry recipes. What other smoked salts have you tried, or are there any other styles of salt that you have tried cooking with before?