You may have heard me mention finishing salts in previous posts. Finishing salts are often coarser than normal table/baking salt and are high-end sea salts harvested from various places and seas in the world. Salts from different places have different characteristics, since environmental factors play a big role in the mineral composition and final taste. While expensive, they do last a long time, since only a bit is need for a dish. You use them just as the name describes, to add to a dish just before serving to enhance flavors. This way you get the most natural flavor from the salt, so you can pick out key characteristics. Plus, they add a nice textural element to dishes.
Meats, salads, vegetables, even desserts, could all benefit from a seasoning of finishing salt. It just depends on the dish and what taste and texture you are after.
A few years ago my husband got me a collection of finishing salts from Williams-Sonoma. Included are Australian Pink Sea Salt, White Flake Sea Salt from Cyprus, Haleakala Red Sea Salt, and Kilauea Black Sea Salt. As you can tell by the names, each salt is quite unique.
The Australian Pink Salt is course, with an almost salty sweet taste. This finishing salt is pretty universal, but I use it most on leaf lettuce salads, citrus, and baked or sautéed white fish.
The White Flake Sea Salt from Cyprus is perhaps the most universal for finishing dishes. This salt is the most coarse, but as it is a flake salt, quite flat.
The Haleakala Red Sea Salt has a more savory, mineral taste, and is less coarse than either the Australian Pink or White Flake Cyprus.
The Kilauea is a black sea salt from Hawaii. This smoky-sweet salt has the most distinctive flavor of the four. It can be a bit strong, so use it sparingly. Kilauea Black Sea Salt works well with meaty white fish dishes.