Written by Super User
Category: Product Values
Published: 26 February 2014
Fleur de Sel from the Marches of Mesologgi
("Flower of salt") is collected on the surface of shallow salt water marshes and is scraped off with a special rake. The raking must be done carefully by hand in order to scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of large salt pans.
Due to its relative scarcity, fleur de sel is one of the more unique salts. It contains no chemical ingredients and no further processing. It is an original, untouched, natural sea product that can be used either cooked or raw to enhance any flavor assorted.
Fleur de Sel remains the easiest to use, the most versatile, and the most well understood of the top tier finishing salts available today. Distinguished by fine, glistening crystals in a pale shade of summer clouds, Fleur de Sel reigns supreme in the world of finishing salts, imparting an extraordinary level of complexity to food.
Fleur de Sel Uses and Benefits and Facts
Fleur de Sel is a rare and expensive form of sea salt that is beloved by cooks due to its fine, light crystals that have a delicate flavor and high concentration of minerals, making them the perfect finishing salt.
Like other salts, including conventional sea salt, table salt, and kosher salt, fleur de sel is composed primarily of sodium chloride. What makes fleur de sel and other gourmet salts unique is their impurities. Traditional fleur de sel has a faintly gray color, due to the minerals which naturally occur in the areas where it is harvested, and it also has a mild but recognizable flavor. Because of the way in which it is harvested, fleur de sel is also less dense than table salt, so it has less of a salty flavor to it.
Fleur de sel has a higher mineral content than table salt, a moist texture and a violet-like fragrance. It is very delicate and will quickly dissolve, so it really should be added to a dish immediately before serving.
Fleur de Sel Uses
Because of this delicate texture and crunch, Fleur de Sel should be used for finishing dishes rather than during the cooking process. To use as a finishing salt, place in a bowl or salt cellar and sprinkle on fish, eggs, pastas, meats and more.
Because fleur de sel lacks an aggressive salty flavor, it is often paired with sweets for unusual desserts. Caramels lightly dusted with it and some consumers enjoy eating fleur de sel on ice cream or with chocolate bars for an interesting flavor experience.
Fleur de Sel Benefits
Fleur de sel not only tastes better than most other salts, but it has also many health benefits that comes with it. Chloride and sodium ions, the two major components of salt, for example, are needed by all known living creatures in small quantities. Here are some of it’s benefits:
First, fleur de Sel’s irregularly sized and unevenly shaped crystals are key to its behavior on food and in the mouth. Smaller crystals dissolve quickly, pouring out a surge of salty intensity, but almost as quickly, the sensation subsides, and then as larger crystals break apart and dissolve they, too, provide a surge of saltiness. The resulting sensation is one of constantly changing rates of acceleration and deceleration as the salt, the food, and you mind race to integrate themselves into something complex yet cohesive, flavorful yet balanced.
Second, Fleur de Sel is its moisture content. This gives the crystals integrity on moist or steaming foods; because the salt crystals already have moisture in them, they have the power to subtly repel outside moisture, and do not melt as easily as a drier salt. The result is a wonderful, fine crunch that is both satisfying in itself and also contributes to the way Fleur de Sel and food combine as the they are eaten.
Third, Fleur de Sel is its mineral make-up. Fleur de Sel is very high in minerals, due to the well-controlled evaporation process of the paludiers (salt rakers) harvesting the salt from the salt pans where the seawater is evaporated. Fleur de Sel has calcium. magnesium, potassium, and contains varying quantities of iron, zinc, manganese, and literally dozens of other trace minerals. These combine with the sodium chloride that makes up the majority of the salt to achieve an extremely well-rounded, mellow finishing salt.
Fourth, Fleur de Sel is beautiful. The visual impact of a fine Fleur de Sel on a table setting should not be underestimated. Fleur de Sel is nature at its most exuberant, packed with the depths and mysteries of the sea, and broods in the mind’s eye with a rich cultural heritage that links back to the stone-age.