A few words about salt

I am a late comer to the salt fan club. In fact, it is amazing that I am a member at all given my memories of my father’s high blood pressure diagnosis in the early 1970’s and the resulting dietary changes that my mother imposed on all of us.  The message from those days came through loud and clear: salt is a dangerous spice.  Salt can KILL you.  Sure, it has its’ place-but you need to use extreme caution when adding it to food.   In fact, I think Mayor Bloomberg might have the same doctor my Dad had in 1972 as a current advisor on New York City Food Policy! 

I remained suspect of salt even as my cooking turned more serious.  In fact, it took a specific salt to convince me that salt was special, that salt was worth the risk.  In 1998, at the age of 32, my husband and I moved to London for a year.  It was there that I saw the light- there that I fell in love with my first-and still only-salt, Maldon Sea Salt. 

At first glance you can see the difference.  Maldon is light, flaky and fabulously white.  This salt is bigger, wider and lighter than other sea salts.  Like a snow flake, you can actually see the crystal formation of the salt.  It has none of the course, gray and occasionally briny qualities that other sea salts are known for.  When you pop a Maldon salt crystal on your tongue, it is a delight-salty without being overpowering.  In short, it is my idea of salt heaven. 

Now, why should you care?  Good question.  Because a good salt is worth it’s weight in gold in the kitchen!  I use Maldon’s in all my cooking. (Note: unless a recipe specifically calls for it, I DO NOT use sea salt in baking…plain old Morton’s is the best when it come to cookies or brownies!)  That said, Maldon’s seasons almost everything I cook: a roast chicken, a fillet, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, you name it.  There is always a big bowl of it within arms reach of stove.  I find it particularly delightful sprinkled on a good salad, just after you have dressed it, but before you toss.  A bit of salt in a salad makes the veggies sing!

Now, where can you find this fabulous salt?  Thank goodness we live in today’s world of the Internet commerce!  Before the creation of fabulous specialty websites, I used to make friends going to London pack containers galore of Maldon’s in their suitcases.  If customs had stopped them, I can only imagine what they would have thought!  But, I digress.  Today you can find Maldon’s on the shelves at Whole Foods or other specialty markets.  If all else fails, or you become a devotee like me, you can order it by the case from Saltworks.com.  It is worth the effort!

Fabulous salad with lemon vinaigrette and Maldon Sea Salt- serves 4-6

Baby greens-about 4 cups

½ chopped yellow pepper

4 sliced radishes

12-14 grape tomatoes, halved

red onion, finely diced or sliced thin on a mandolin, to taste

Shredded Parmesan, to taste

½  avocado, diced

1 ripe pear, peeled, seeded and diced

Lemon Vinaigrette

(Makes enough for several salads depending on size of salads)

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cups extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped


Add garlic to lemon juice, slowly drizzle olive oil in while whisking.  Season with pepper.

Store dressing in covered container in refrigerator.  Return to room temperature and whisk well before using.

One Comment

  1. Charlotte
    Posted January 31, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I totally agree with you on this

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