Salt, as any aspiring kitchen scientist can tell you, is a flavor enhancer. It’s not the star of a dish; it’s a supporting player—unless it’s really, really, really good salt. This past Tuesday, chef Michael Stanton of The Heathman Restaurant & Bar in Portland, Oregon, and selmelier Mark Bitterman of The Meadow (a specialty salt shop with locations in New York City and Portland) teamed up to create a dinner at the James Beard House in which weird and wonderful salts were the main event. There were salt block-cured sturgeon, salt-crusted morels and even a dessert of chocolate-covered pear dipped in three different salts.
Here, five unique salts Bitterman and Stanton think everyone should try.
Taha’a Vanilla Sea Salt
Infused with Tahitian vanilla pods, this flaky salt has the texture of phyllo dough. Its delicate flavor and subtle crunch make it a great finishing salt for mild, sweet seafood like crab or scallops.