Chef, cookbook author, and Netflix sensation Samin Nosrat shares her favorite sea salts.
Any time Samin Nosrat gets a whiff of saltwater air, she’s catapulted back to her childhood in San Diego. Best known for her cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, followed by a Netflix series of the same name, Nosrat went to high school three blocks from the ocean, her “happy place.”
Her family is from Iran, and as a child, she spent many Persian holidays at the beach. They would celebrate Chaharshanbe Suri, just before the Persian New Year, Nowruz, by jumping over fires at sundown and eating ash reshteh, a thick soup made of noodles and beans. Then, on Sizdah Bedar, the 13th day of Nowruz, they would gather for a beach picnic, toting samovars filled with tea and unrolling Persian carpets over the sand.
Now based in Berkeley, Nosrat confides that she’s tried cooking with seawater—but at 3 percent salinity, it was too salty. (The perfect salinity for cooking is closer to 2 percent.) “It sounds minuscule, but that 1 percent makes a big difference,” she says. Instead, when she wants a taste of the beach, she reaches for one of her favorite sea salts.
Harvested in Sicily, “I love this one because it’s a clean-tasting, workhorse salt,” Nosrat says. “I keep big jars around for everyday cooking.” $3.50/2.2-pound bag, gustiamo.com
Of this Oregon sea salt, Nosrat says,“I add Ben Jacobsen’s flaky salt to salads at the last minute, sprinkle it on fish tartare, and use it with ricotta and burrata to lend a nice textural contrast.” $43/ 17.6-ounce jar, amazon.com
“This salt [from Kami-kamagari Island in Japan] is made with hondawara seaweed. I recommend using it in simple applications where you can taste the umami.” $11.99/3.5-ounce bag, amazon.com
“I feel paranoid when I’m in a kitchen without Maldon,” Nosrat says of this crunchy British sea salt. “Its texture is extraordinary. It’s perfect for last-minute seasoning or sprinkled on chocolate chip cookies.” $5.49/8.5-ounce box, amazon.com
“I add it to stocks, roasted meats, water for vegetables, and anything fermented,” Nosrat says of this French sea salt. “I love the minerally flavor as well as the less refined form.” $15/ 1-lb bag at amazon.com