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Flavoured salt in your kitchen? Top tips on using this fancy condiment

Bacon and mushroom salt, anyone?

Image: larryjh1234 via Flickr/CC

SALT MUST BE the most basic but important flavour-weapon in any chef’s arsenal.

It’s had something of a bad rap for the last few years, as people have been told to eat low-sodium diets and that too much salt has been linked to a host of health problems.

However, we still do need salt in our diet as we can’t produce it naturally ourselves, so it’s not good to cut it out completely. Everything in moderation is probably the best way to go, barring any actual medical advice direct from your doctor’s mouth.

Which is good news for makers of the newest taste on the block – flavoured salt flakes.

Source: Chew Town

What is it exactly? Isn’t salt already flavoured?

Flavoured sea salt flakes are the chef and gourmet foodie’s newest go-to ingredient, and its popularity is spreading rapidly.

It can be used in cooking as normal, as well as a ‘finishing salt’ to give that gourmet touch to your food.

Some of the more interesting flavours knocking about right now are: red wine sea salt – perfect for lamb or beef dishes; lemon and lime sea salt – great with fish (or decorating a margarita glass); bacon and mushroom – nice with stews, casseroles or red meats, and there’s even espresso and vanilla sea salt (delicious on ice-cream, believe it or not).

Source: Rafferty's Fine Foods/Facebook

We spoke to Declan Rafferty of Rafferty’s Fine Foods, a SuperValu Food Academy supplier, about his new range of flavoured salts, and why gourmet food products are flooding the non-professional cooking market.

Why has there been such an increase in gourmet products in supermarkets?

People have become more savvy around food, and when they go to the restaurants and then come home, they want to replicate what they had out there. They like the restaurant quality touches, like relishes, like the sea salts, garnishes, different pestos and stuff and try and do that at home. But it’s quite time consuming making a relish, you know.

How did you get started selling gourmet accompaniments?

I operate a restaurant and customers would come in and say, ‘Oh that red pepper pesto was really good, can I buy it?’ So then we started production with that. There’s a market there (for gourmet products).

Source: Rafferty's Fine Foods/Facebook

How did you get into flavoured salts?

People know their food, and especially salt. People know their salt.

In our end of it, regarding the sea salt flakes, I know there’s an opinion out there that salt is bad for you, but your body does need a certain amount of salt and it can’t produce it itself, so if we can produce a high quality product that will give you that taste and texture that you get when you go into the restaurant, then the shopper wants to replicate that.

What ways can you use these flavoured salts?

Our red wine sea salt is very trendy – it’s delicious sprinkled on steak after stir-frying. A perfect seasoning accompaniment for any stews, or casseroles, anything with the red wine salt – it’s really robust.

There’s a lovely rosemary and mint one that works very well with lamb. Those are the kind of things we’re trying to encourage people to try – keep the beef or steak or lamb really simple and then use the salt as a finishing touch to bring out the flavour.

The red wine sea salt works wonderfully well with dark chocolate. You think red wine, chocolate and salt,  how can it work? But it does, it works very very well.

You know, caramels with sea salt are very popular now too.

Source: Rafferty's Fine Foods/Facebook

What is the difference between salt flakes and rock salt? Why do you use sea salt flakes?

We use sea salt flakes – a high quality sea-salt flake. They’re the Rolls Royce of salt.

Rock salt is mined from the ground. Sea salt flake has no additives, no anti-caking agents, it’s produced from the sea. You boil it up and let it dry. That’s all that’s done to it.

And for desert…

Try this:

Frozen Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sundae Source: Food on Fifth

Have you tried any flavoured salt? Have you any interesting ways of using them? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the author:

Edel Corrigan

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