High and Low: Fleur de Sel, Kosher Salt, and Iodized Salt | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

High and Low: Fleur de Sel, Kosher Salt, and Iodized Salt

High and Low: Fleur de Sel, Kosher Salt, and Iodized Salt

PHOTO (left to right):  fleur de sel, kosher salt, and iodized salt

When I first heard the term “finishing salt” I rolled my eyes—must we have yet another chi-chi, gourmet term for yet another superfluous ingredient? No sooner had I had that thought than I sheepishly shrugged my shoulders. You see, I regularly use finishing salt in my cooking, though I’d never thought to call it that. Ever since I lived in Brittany, France, and learned about fleur de sel from my Bretonne apartment-mate, Soizic, I’ve done as she showed me and sprinkled the flaky, white salt crystals over foods just before serving them. Soizic never thought of fleur de sel as a finishing salt. She'd always pulled the one-two seasoning punch, using plain sea salt while cooking, then the locally harvested (from Guérande in southern Brittany) fleur de sel as a final flavor adjustment.

I picked up Soizic's habit, carried it with me back to the US, then modified it, switching out the sea salt for inexpensive, non-clumping, neutral-flavored kosher salt.

Mind you, fleur de sel is pricey, as are the other finishing salts out there. I don’t put it on everything. But oh, when I do, is it worth it! I love the way it subtly salts a fresh tomato salad or crunches just a little bit when sprinkled over roasted vegetables. And the finest sprinkle over a caramel sundae—divine!

If you need more convincing that finishing salts are, well, worth their salt, try this taste test. Pour a little iodized salt into one bowl, kosher or plain sea salt into a second bowl, and fleur de sel or another finishing salt into a third bowl. Then taste each. The iodized salt will have a strong, almost tinny flavor from the iodine. The kosher salt or sea salt will be salty, perhaps with a little hint of mineral flavor. And after trying the first two, you’ll be able to truly taste the delicate, nuanced flavor of the fleur de sel or other finishing salt.


Comments on this Blog

Just grind up the big chunks with a mortor and pestle.

agreed! I dragged back tiny little wooden table baskets of 'fleur de sel' from Ile de Re on a trip we took decades ago, and have been filling that little wooden salt cellar ever since! We all love our 'fleur de sel'. Sometimes it's the only salt I use in a dish, because it carries so much more flavor on unsalted food, I've found :)