What’s so good about fleur de sel salt? Well, to put it simply, it’s really good. But the key question is how to get your hands on fleur de sel. Unfortunately, finding this precious fleur de sel can be a bit of a challenge.
So what’s the secret to finding fleur de sel? For one thing, it’s a pretty delicate item. Fleur de sel is a salty finishing salt, which are usually used in French cooking and seafood dishes, and has been for literally hundreds of years.
But it’s also a food that’s quite hard to come by in the United States. It was once a very rare find on American shores, but has now become an ordinary, everyday sea salt. Part of the reason for this is its popularity as a culinary item. Seafood is one of the most popular cuisines in America, with some studies estimating that Americans consume more seafood than any other country in the world. So it’s no wonder that the demand for fleur de sel has skyrocketed over the past few years.
The key to French cuisine is the delicate combination of flavors coming from heavy spices like saffron, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, oregano, thyme, Rosemary, and thyme oil, as well as from butter, cheese, and butter, plus just a tiny bit of lemon juice or milk. And while some chefs swear by adding just a few of these things to a dish, others swear that you need a lot of butter to get a true fleur de sel to taste. (If you can’t stomach some of the salty taste, you may also add butter to your dish as part of a balancing act.)
There are two varieties of fleur de sel that you might encounter on your cruise: kosher salt and sea salt. Most people will opt for kosher salt because it’s usually much cheaper, though some sea salt has also gotten refined and has lost a lot of its flavor. But both are very good options. Just keep in mind that sea salt tastes much better when it’s warm so keep that in mind when serving it.
To tell which kind of fleur de sel is best, check the back of your plate and look for flecks of light brown color that suggest the presence of magnesium sulfate. If there are large flecks like this, then you’re likely to have sea salt. Most sea salts have gone through a process called ‘salt whiting’ wherein most of the magnesium sulfate is removed and replaced with sodium chloride (a.k.a. table salt) to prevent the mineral ions in seawater from affecting the taste of the final product.
So, which kind of fleur de sel is best? The answer depends a lot on the style of cooking you prefer. Most Jews prefer the fleur de sel with its softer texture and more subtle taste, while the gentiles prefer the sea salt with its crunchy texture. (It’s important to note that fleur de salmets is actually a type of sea salt and not just a cooking salt.)
If you’re considering making this salty condiment on your own, it’s best to follow the recipes featured on the Fleur De Sermet (webpage from France’s La Foliecaire cuisine website). This gives you an idea of how much sea salt is needed and how much flavor is retained when using this seasoning. The dish is typically served with white fish or chicken and is served with champagne. A bottle of this salty treat also goes along with this drink. For further information about fleur de sel as a seafood seasoning or as a unique condiment, you can visit its webpage at its website (French only).