I’m a huge fan of salt (no matter how unhealthy in large quantities), which is why I really enjoy the rich taste of coarse sea salt and the flavor it lends to food.
You can use coarse sea salt to add a special touch to your veggies, roasted potatoes, bread, steaks, fruits, or chocolate desserts – it’s all up to you.
Here are 4 reasons why you should use coarse sea salt in your everyday (and special day) cooking.
1. Coarse Sea Salt is Purely Natural
Are you wondering how we get or make coarse sea salt, and how heavily processed it is?
Well, as the name suggests, coarse sea salt comes from the sea. At the most basic level, sea salt is created by seawater that has been evaporated by the sun – after evaporation, sea salt crystals in all their glory are left behind.
Sea salt doesn’t really go through any processing (if it does, it’s minimal), and thus doesn’t have any harmful additives – it also isn’t iodized or bleached. The resulting crystals are irregular in size ranging from about 1 to 3 millimeters.
Morton’s coarse sea salt, for example, is harvested from the Mediterranean Sea. You can get a sea salt from just about any of the world’s seas, and they’ll all have their special peculiarities because of the differences in the mineral composition of the sea itself.
The salt can be anywhere from slightly gray to pink to brown in color, as the color depends on where the salt came from. The coarse sea salt most people are used to is from the Pacific Ocean, and it tends to be a kind of light gray color.
2. Coarse Sea Salt Will Knock Your Taste Buds to Cloud Nine
Some people are reluctant to use coarse sea salt because of its irregularly-shaped and large granules, but really, the variety in coarse sea salt is one of its benefits.
Although sea salt is pretty much composed of the same stuff as your average table salt (sodium chloride), the crystals of sea salt form in a more complex composition – as shown by the salt’s different texture and its irregular shapes and sizes. Sea salt packs a dramatic punch when used in food because of the size, as when you chomp down on a crystal you’re more likely to notice and enjoy.
Coming right from the sea, coarse sea salt also boasts a particularly briny flavor that some people are fond of. Sea salt tends to have more minerals and trace elements from the environment than common table salt because it goes through less processing and refining. Both of these factors contribute to the phenomenal taste known specifically to come from coarse sea salt.
3. Coarse Sea Salt Has Therapeutic Benefits in Natural Medicine
Depending on where the sea salt was produced, it can have anywhere from 75 to 90 trace minerals, which is about a third of the whole periodic table of the elements. Some of those elements and minerals include magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, and bromide, among others.
Like regular table salt, the two main compounds are sodium and chloride, but since there’s a large amount of other minerals as well, their percentages are lower in sea salt than they are in other kinds of salt. This means coarse sea salt gives you less sodium than average, which is good for people who need to keep an eye on their sodium intake levels.
Coarse sea salt offers other great health benefits too. It helps support our electrolytic balance, which is important for our nerves to function and transmit impulses throughout our bodies. It can also help with skin conditions such as psoriasis – some symptoms of suffering can be eased or cured through sea salt bath treatments. The same goes for arthritis. Coarse sea salt scrubs are also used to treat oily or acne-prone skin.
Sea salt solutions are also used in nasal irrigation and sprays to provide anti-inflammatory, decongestant, and anti-allergic treatment without side effects. It can also help with cardiovascular issues – the calcium, potassium, and magnesium found in sea salt are all important for heart and vessel health.
Various spasms, cramps, and pains are eased by sea salt as well. The magnesium and potassium provide detoxifying and rejuvenating effects on your body’s muscles when you bathe in sea salts and minerals.
4. There are Recipes That Take Advantage of Coarse Sea Salt
Are you ready for some recipes to test out your newfound coarse sea salt kick? These won’t disappoint:
How’s Salmon Sound?
Here’s a simple salmon recipe for you to try out:
- 1 pound of wild salmon fillet (500 grams)
- 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt
- ½ a teaspoon of paprika
- ½ a cup of Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of chopped chives
- 1On a baking sheet lined with foil, place the salmon fillet with skin side down (if the fillet has skin on it). Sprinkle a mix of paprika and coarse sea salt on top. The salt coating should be quite thick.
- 2Broil for 7 minutes until the salt begins to melt and sear, and then form a crust. When you see the salty crust, it's time to turn off the broiler. But don't take it out of the heat yet. Keep it in the oven for another 5 minutes.
- 3Combine the lemon, yogurt, and chives together. Serve the mixture with your salmon. Enjoy!
Ever Wanted to Make Your Own Soft Pretzels?
Well then gather the following ingredients and get ready to roll!
- 4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 packets of active dry yeast
- 1 cup of lukewarm water
- 3 tablespoons of room temperature butter
- Coarse sea salt to taste
- ½ a cup of baking soda
- 2 quarts of water
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Try not to go above 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 2Mix the kosher salt and flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and make a well in the center. Add sugar into the center of the well.
- 3Pour the yeast and water mix from Step 1 into the Step 2 well.
- 4Set a timer for 15 minutes and wait for the water and yeast mixture to foam.
- 5Once the yeast is activated, add butter.
- 6Knead all the ingredients into a smooth dough. The recipe suggests using the stand mixer’s hook attachment for 6 minutes on low speed. When that’s done, remove the dough hook and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
- 7Then cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. It doesn't have to be exact. You can just eyeball them, really.
- 8Roll each dough chunk on a clean surface to a 20-inch dowel or log shape. Line a sheet pan with parchment and brush the surface lightly with veggie oil. Form your dough logs into pretzel shapes and put them on the sheet pan.
- 9Lay out your raw pretzels and stick them uncovered into the fridge for an hour. This dries the outside and will give you a shiny crust in the end. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 10Bring 2 quarts of water to boil and add baking soda slowly. Use a big pot and be careful – it’ll react like a mini-volcano. Use a slotted spoon to add 2 to 3 pretzels into the boiling pot at a time. Cook them for 15 to 20 seconds each.
- 11Once you’re done boiling all your pretzels, put them back on the sheet pan. Sprinkle as much coarse sea salt on them as your heart desires and stick them in the oven to bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
- 12Let them cool, grab some beer and mustard, and enjoy! Oh, and as a sweet bonus challenge, here’s a recipe for making salted caramel ice cream!
Not All Salts are Created Equal
The name salt doesn’t really refer to any particular salt – there are all kinds of salt, and not all of them are edible.
Not sure coarse sea salt is right for you or your current cooking situation? No problem, there are many different types of salt, and some are better used in different cooking scenarios.
For example, coarse salt isn’t usually the best for baking unless the recipe specifically calls for coarse salt. This is because in baked goods you usually want your salt to be dispensed evenly among your dish, not suddenly show up in big chunks. Traditional table salt disperses more easily than coarse salt does. Coarse salt is usually just best in salted caramel or as a garnish in baking.
The typical table salt you know and love comes from salt deposits found underground. This most common salt is highly refined and finely ground – many impurities and trace minerals are removed in the process. The salt is usually treated with an anti-caking agent to prevent clumping as well.
Table salt is also usually iodized – this means iodine was added to prevent iodine deficiency.
Now kosher salt and sea salt are both often referred to as coarse salts due to their large and irregular grain size. Kosher salt and sea salt aren’t exactly the same thing though.
Kosher salt is flakier and has a coarser grain than table salt. It dissolves quickly, which makes it a good all-purpose cooking salt. It tastes particularly good sprinkled on top of meat for a burst of flavor when it hits your tongue. Kosher salt has no iodine or any other additives, unlike table salt. Note: kosher salt isn’t certified kosher, despite white the name makes you believe.
In any case, it would be a good call to keep coarse sea salt on hand if you’re ever in the mood for a natural punch of flavor in your favorite meals.