tips & tricks: salt 101

while learning to cook, one of the most challenging lessons was mastering salt. next to fresh ingredients, properly salting your food will have the biggest impact on flavor. knowing what kind of salt to use, when to use it and how much you need is a delicate balance. so here are some tips on using salt as well as some great salts to keep on hand.
when to salt? 
salt is not just something that adds flavor. salt extracts flavor from other foods making those foods their most flavorful. a good rule of thumb is to salt each ingredient as you are adding it to your dish. if a recipe calls for a teaspoon of salt, add in a couple of pinches at a time as you are adding ingredients instead of adding it all at the end. if you add it in little by little, you will have delicious, flavorful food instead of food that tastes "salty". 

how much salt should i use? 
if your recipe did not recommend a certain amount of salt, or if you are just winging it in the kitchen, here are a couple tricks to perfectly salt food. 
when salting veggies, a couple of pinches per cup should be enough. if you are using fish or shellfish, you want to pat your protein dry with a paper towel and then sprinkle it generously on both sides. for land proteins like chicken, pork or beef, you want to treat it similarly to sea proteins but you want to season it a bit more liberally. more of the salt will be absorbed into the flesh of land proteins, especially beef. salt your beef very liberally. a well salted beef will develop a delicious salty and crusty outer layer when seared on the grill or in a hot pan. 
finally, pay attention to what kind of salt is called for in a recipe. if it is different than the salt you have, you may need to adjust your amount since all salts are not the same shape and size and measure differently. you can find a guide for substitutions HERE. 

what kind of salt should i use? 
there are many (too many to count) different types of salt. but you can thrive in the kitchen with just a few of them. here are the three i can't live with out as well as a couple bonus options. 

kosher salt
this is my number one go to salt. i keep it in a small bowl by my stove so i can grab a pinch here and there as i need it. kosher salt is more coarse than iodized salt, but absorbs really well into foods. it is a great all purpose salt to have on hand. 

iodized salt (table salt)
this is the salt that you find in people's salt shakers. it is very fine and easily absorbs and dissolves which is why it makes a good option for last minute salt additions. iodized salt is a must have, but i really only use it for baking or table salt. 

sea salt 
the most corse of the three salts, sea salt is an amazing option for proteins. since it is a bit larger, it is perfect for meat that quickly absorbs finer options like iodized and kosher salt.

finishing salt
there are some amazing artisans creating really delicious and easy to come by salts. many home stores, finer groceries and gift stores are now carrying all the flavored salts you can imagine. flavored salts are great to sprinkle on top of baked goods, crushed for the rim of a drink, on top of your favorite protein or just sprinkled on top of your buttered toast. the options are endless. 

xo, a