Flavoured salts, also known as finishing salts, are a great way of adding flavour during cooking and, of course, when finishing a dish.
Whilst it’s true that salt is salt, most commercially sold salt contains about 2% of something else and that 2% is enough to make a huge difference to flavour (not to mention texture). Table salt contains anti-caking agents, and may also contain iodide, and whilst these aren’t really detectable (to me) when it’s used in cooking, they certainly can be when salt is used to finish a dish. Even for reasons of texture alone, it’s nicer to sprinkle some crystallised salt over freshly sliced tomatoes than table salt.
Some natural salts contain traces of the earth from which they were mined, which can give earthy mineral flavours as well as affect their texture. Likewise, sea salt often retains other elements that were dissolved in the water.
It’s also becoming increasingly popular to mix in additional flavourings such as herbs, citrus peel, mushrooms, chilli and other spices. Smoked salt is also widely available.
Steenbergs Organic is a North Yorkshire-based family-run business committed to “providing organic spices and organic cooking ingredients packed with flavour, aroma and provenance”.
Steenbergs sell a range of salts including (naturally occuring) coloured salts, sea salts and finishing salts and salt blends. They sent me a selection of their range to try.
So far I’ve tried the Happy Hippy Flower Salt, which looks beautiful sprinkled over a plate of fresh, sliced tomatoes. It also gives a lovely crunch and a delightful floral flavour.
The Smoked Sea Salt is gorgeous for anything you think would benefit from a hint of smoke. I like it sprinkled over courgettes grilled on the barbecue or onto a tasty steak after it’s cooked and rested.
The Salt & Herbs For Poultry brought our most recent roast chicken dinner to life. The mix is 83% salt with the balance made up of black pepper, chives, parsley and tarragon; a quick and delicious way to add a touch of flavour.
Kavey Eats received a sample set of salts from Steenbergs Organic.