I was thinking recently about the kitchen essentials that I couldn’t be without. While my job means that I’m constantly cooking a whole range of different dishes, there are a handful of ingredients that I would almost rather never cook again than do without. Fresh herbs is one lot. Chillies are probably another, followed closely by citrus fruits.
But the biggest one, the most essential ingredient I can think of, is sea salt. And Maldon sea salt specifically, those pyramid shaped flakes that are never absent from a single dish I make. Anyone who knows me will know that my kitchen is never, ever without a box of Maldon. The one and only time I ran out I simply didn’t bother cooking myself any dinner – there really wasn’t any point.
For me, salt and pepper perform very different functions – salt enhances flavour, while pepper changes it. Therefore, a dish can be c0mplete without the addition of pepper, but never without salt. And when you’re using sea salt, it becomes an ingredient all by itself.
We all know that a pinch of salt added to cakes and biscuits helps the flavour. But try adding half a teaspoon of sea salt to a chocolate brownie mixture and watch the faces of the people you feed them to. It’s unbridled joy, every single time. And I’m sure by now we’ve all worshipped at the altar of the salted caramel.
And don’t listen when those over-protective nannies in the Food Standards Agency tell you we’re all eating far too much salt everyday. If you measure out 6g of sea salt per person, that’s a whole lot you’d be adding to your food. More even than I would add, and I’m definitely at the upper end of the salty spectrum. Assuming that you, dear readers of this food blog, don’t live your life on ready meals, I think it’s safe to say I won’t be the cause of a national outbreak of high blood pressure.
So if you’re still seasoning your food with cheap as chips table salt, please invest in a box of proper sea salt. Not only is it infinitely superior in taste, it is also a whole lot more pure, so far, far healthier for you to be feeding your family. And once you start using it, I honestly doubt you’ll be going back to the Saxa.