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FOOD 101: The Differences Between Table Salt & Sea Salt

Table Salt
[1] Table salt. Functional, but not the best (photo courtesy Tablecraft)./font>


[2] Fleur de sel, a favorite of chefs harvested off the Atlantic coast of France. It’s a type of sel gris, the category of gray salt (photo courtesy Saltworks).

Maldon Salt
The unique pyramid-shaped crystals of Maldon River salt from England (photo © Stephen Upson).

Cyprus Black Sea Salt
[4] Black lava salt from Cyprus is an example of both lava salt and flake salt (photo courtesy Saltworks).

Alaea Hawaiian Salt

[5] Alaea, red sea salt from Hawaii. The color comes from the area’s natural red clay (photo courtesy Saltworks).

 

You know that there’s a difference between table salt and sea salt, but what exactly is it?

  • Table salt (photo #1) is mined from underground salt beds, which are the evaporated remains of ancient bodies of salt water. It is then refined, with added anti-clumping agents and iodine, an essential element for nutrition. However, the process of removing impurities also removes the trace minerals.
  • Sea salt is directly evaporated from sea water through evaporation, boiling or other techniques. It is not refined, so it contains trace amounts of minerals.
  •  
    Both have the same amount of sodium, and experts agree that for most Americans, there is no meaningful heath benefit in choosing one over the other.

    However, to the refined palate, there is a difference in taste.

    HOST A SEA SALT TASTING

    Before we present our favorite types of sea salt, consider planning a tasting to compare them. We recommend three umbrella groups to taste:

  • Sel gris (grey salt) such as fleur de sel, an everyday finishing salt.
  • Black, pink and red, and smoked salts for specialty garnish and plate garnish.
  • Maldon (photos #3 and #6) or flake salts for extra eye appeal and crunch.
  •  
    Don’t worry about the expense: Get together a group of like-minded foodies who are happy to share the cost. And since you will only use a small amount from each jar, everyone gets to take home the rest of the salt they brought.

    If you enjoy the first tasting as much as we think you will, you can plan follow-up tastings such as:

  • Plain white sea salts from different parts of the world.
  • Pink sea salts from different terroirs (ditto black salts).
  • Flake salts.
  • Flavored salts.
  •  
    Test them on very bland foods; for example:

  • Boiled potatoes
  • Celery sticks
  • Chicken (ideally skinless white meat)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Green beans (al dente)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Pasta (look for large, dense shapes, like shells)
  • Polenta squares
  • Tofu
  •  
    About salt being the enemy: The main source of sodium in our diet is not salt from the mine or the sea, but that hidden in processed foods.
     
     
    CATEGORIES OF SALT

    CATEGORY I: REFINED KITCHEN SALTS

    First, the basic salts:

    1. TABLE SALT

    Table salt, the most common salt in use worldwide, is harvested from salt deposits found underground. As mentioned above, most table salt is iodized. This iodine prevents iodine deficiency, which can cause hypothyroidism (goiter) and other maladies. While this problem evaporated (pun intended) with improvements in the American diet in the early 20th century, it still occurs in parts of the third world.
     
     
    2. KOSHER SALT

    Kosher salt—originally called koshering salt–is coarser-grained than regular table salt, with a flaky appearance. The large grains were originally used to kosher meat, drawing blood and other liquids from the surface of the meat, per kosher law.

    Most kosher salt does not have added iodine, and usually has no anti-clumping agents. Unless indicated on the package, it isn’t even kosher (the name refers to the process).

    It is an all-purpose cooking salt, typically used to salt the water prior to cooking pasta and grains. However, it can also be a crunchy finishing salt, less expensive than coarse sea salt. It’s also used as a Margarita rimmer and a pretzel topper.

     
    3. PICKLING SALT

    People who pickle use pickling salt for brining. Like kosher salt, it’s a refined salt, but pickling salt is always made without anti-clumping or other agents.

    Tip: Never use sea salt for pickling. The trace elements can discolor the food.
     
     
    CATEGORY II: SEA SALTS

    “Sea salt” is a broad term, comprising plain salts, smoked salts and flavored salts. They are variously referred to as artisan salts and gourmet salts.Have a salt tasting to see how different these salts are on basic foods.

    Harvested from evaporated sea water, sea salt is usually unrefined and coarser-grained than table salt; although specialty salt sites often sell their salts in both fine and coarse grinds.

    Sea salts also contain some the minerals that occur naturally in the water where they are harvested. Iron, potassium, zinc and trace minerals give sea salt a more complex flavor profile.

    They are often used as finishing salts: a sprinkle on top of the foods (as opposed to a recipe ingredient). Have a tasting to see the for a different mouth feels and bursts of flavor for yourself.
     
     
    4. ALAEA, RED HAWAIIAN SALT

    This naturally red Hawaiian salt (photo #5) gets its name and color from the reddish, iron-rich volcanic clay in the area.

    Used for centuries in ceremonial ways for cleansing, purification and the blessing of tools, red Hawaiian salt is also great in the kitchen, adding an attractive finish and robust flavor to seafood and meat, as well as traditional island dishes like poke and pipikaula, a Hawaiian jerky.
     
     
    5. CELTIC SEA SALT

    In the sel gris (pronounced sell GREE, French for “grey salt”) category, Celtic sea salt is harvested from the bottom of mineral-rich tidal ponds off the coast of France. The salt crystals are raked out after sinking; this, plus the miner. The grains are moist and chunky, with a grey hue and briny taste of the sea.

    However, don’t save it for seafood: It’s used on just about every food, including baked goods and as a garnish for chocolate desserts.

     

    6. FLAKE SALT

    Flake salt is thin and irregularly shaped with a bright, salty taste and very low mineral content. The flakes dissolve quickly, though, resulting in a pop of flavor where they sat.

    Flake salt is popular as a finishing salt, especially on meats. Chefs will toss some on before the plate goes up to the pass.

    Flake salts occur around the world. Maldon salt from England is the best-known and perhaps the most beautiful, with natural pyramid-shaped crystals (photo #3). It is available in its natural form as well as smoked.
     
     

    7. FLEUR DE SEL

    Literally “flower of salt,” fleur de sel (photo #2) is hand-harvested from tidal pools off the coast of Brittany, France. Paper-thin salt crystals are delicately skimmed from the water’s surface with traditional wooden rakes.

    Understandably, this labor can only be undertaken on sunny, dry days with no more than a slight breeze. Because of its labor-intensive harvesting, fleur de sel is the world’s most expensive salt.

    As a type of sel gris, it retains moisture. It has a particular blue-grey tint from the high mineral content in its terroir. It is used as a finishing salt for meat, seafood, vegetables, even desserts (let’s not forget salted caramels, plain or chocolate-coated).
     
     
    8. HIMALAYAN PINK SALT

    Himalayan salt is the purest form of salt in the world. That’s because its water source evaporated long before mankind arrived to pollute the planet.

    It is harvested in the Himalayan Mountains of Pakistan. It may also be the richest in minerals, containing the 84 natural minerals and elements found in the human body.

    Pink salts are also found elsewhere in the world, including Australia’s Murray River salt, Bolivia and Peru. The colors can range from pinkish-white to deep pink.

    The mineral content of pink salts gives them flavor as well as beauty. Use them as plate decor and cocktail rims.
     
     
    9. KALA NAMAK & OTHER BLACK SALTS

    Kala namak, which means “black salt” in Nepalese, is a flavored salt: Himalayan salt that’s been packed in a container with charcoal, herbs, seeds and bark. The container is fired in a furnace for 24 hours; then it’s cooled, stored and aged.

    The process gives kala namak its reddish-black color, its pungent, salty taste and a faint, sulfurous aroma of eggs. It’s often used in vegan and vegetarian dishes to give egg-free dishes the taste of egg, as well as in Ayurvedic practice.

    You can also find naturally blank lava salts, from areas of volcanic activity around the world—from Cyprus (photo #4) to Hawaii.

    Coarse-grained and crunchy, blacks salt make eye-popping glass rims, plate garnishes, and are popular as finishing salts with pork and seafood.

     

    Smoked Maldon  Sea Salt
    [5] Smoked Maldon salt, a pyramid-shaped salt from England (photo courtesy Maldon).

    Alder Smoked Salt
    [6] By comparison, sea salt with a heavy Calderwood smoke (photo courtesy Saltworks).

    Flavored Salts

    [7] A trio of flavored salts. From top: matcha, bourbon, saffron.

     
    10. SMOKED SALT

    Smoked salt is slow-smoked for up to two weeks over a wood fire. Some brands highlight the wood. Alder, apple, hickory, mesquite and oak are most common, but you can also find chardonnay and cabernet salts smoked over barrels in which the wine was aged (actual wine can be added as well).

    People who enjoy a smokey hit will enjoy smoked salts (we’re fans). Use them on heartier foods: meats, poultry, potatoes, grilled vegetables.

    Some salts, like Maldon, are available in both regular and smoked form. You can add to a tasting by comparing them.
     
     
    CATEGORY III: FLAVORED SALTS

    Beyond the garlic salt, onion salt and seasoned salt found in many kitchens, you can find salts mixed with everything from chocolate and espresso to lemon and lemongrass, chipotle and chile verde to truffle and Thai ginger.

    Photo #6 shows matcha, bourbon and saffron salts.

    There are dozens of different flavors. Our favorites in terms of universality: rosemary salt and saffron salt. We love these flavors, so use the salts every day, instead of plain sea salt.

    Check out Saltworks.us for a variety that will knock your salty socks off.

    Some examples, in addition to those already mentioned, of what can be found at Saltworks:

  • Vegetable & Herb Salts: garlic, onion, porcini, rosemary, tomato, truffle
  • Hot & Spicy Salts: chipotle, curry, ghost pepper, ginger, habanero, jalapeño, serrano, sriracha, szechuan
  • Other: lemon, lime, merlot, vanilla,
      
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Harissa & How To Use It

    Homemade Harissa Paste
    [1] Homemade harissa paste. Here’s a template to make your signature recipe, from Slow Burning Passion.

    Shakshouka With Feta
    [2] A classic Tunisian dish, shakshouka, punches up the tomato sauce with harissa.

    Butternut Squash With Harissa
    [3] Hot harissa ports easily to American cuisine, such as this baked squash with maple syrup and pomegranate arils (photo courtesy Cava).

    Cheddar With Harissa

    [4] How popular is harissa? In England, it’s become a flavoring for English Cheddar (photo courtesy iGourmet).

     

    Like hot and spicy foods? Try harissa.

    This “unofficial condiment of Tunisia” is extremely versatile. In Tunisia, Morocco and across North Africa, harissa flavors almost all of the local cuisine:

  • Couscous of rice
  • Grilled meat or fish
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Soups, stews and stocks
  •  
    It’s also served with bread. Harissa is both a flavor enhancer and a condiment used for dipping and spreading.

    While you can purchase harissa in jars, it’s easy to make at home (recipe below), where you can adjust the amount of heat with the type or the number of chiles.

    We use smoky chiles: chipotle (dried, smoked red jalapeño) and/or the mild ancho (dried, smoked poblano).

    For serious smoky heat, look for smoky bhut jolokia chiles, a.k.a. ghost chiles (the different types of chiles). Harissa is meant to be hot.

    Beyond heat, harissa delivers a depth of flavor not provided by hot sauces, including sriracha.

    Don’t like a lot of heat? Make red bell pepper sauce instead, and add a pinch of heat: chile flakes or hot sauce to taste.

    USES FOR HARISSA PASTE

    Harissa has a place in every meal, from breakfast to dinner. You can even add a bit in a fruit salad for dessert.

  • Beverages, from vegetable juices to Bloody Marys.
  • Breakfast eggs, from a condiment with simple egg preparations or steak and eggs, to a toast spread, to the sauce for shakshouska.
  • Burgers and meatloaf, mixed into the ground meat or the sauce or ketchup.
  • Cheeses, from mild, like ricotta, to tangy, like feta; as a condiment with stronger cheeses on a cheese plate.
  • Chicken wings: mix the harissa with some honey.
  • Dip with crudités.
  • Grilled fish especially hearty fish likesalmon.
  • Hummus, mixed in or used as a garnish on top of the bowl; or as a condiment on a hummus and roasted vegetable sandwich.
  • Pasta and pizza: add harissa to the sauce.
  • Roast chicken, baked ham, as a rub or condiment.
  • Roasted vegetables, especially carrots, fennel, potatoes and squash (toss with the vegetables before roasting).
  • Rubs and marinades: rub directly onto a pork roast, leg of lamb or chicken.
  • Tomato sauce and other vegetable sauces.
  • Vinaigrettes with lemon juice, and creamy salad dressings.
  • Yogurt, plus yogurt sauce for grilled meats and vegetables.
  •  
     
    RECIPE: HARISSA PASTE

    Seasonings vary widely, but caraway, coriander and cumin are cornerstones.

    Dried chiles are a key ingredient in harissa. You can use any combination you like.

    Ingredients

  • 1 whole roasted red pepper, seeds removed
  • 4 ounces dried red chiles of choice
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • Optional: fresh cilantro or mint, maple syrup, orange juice, roasted carrots, sundried tomatoes, tomato paste
  • Preparation

    1. REMOVE the stems and seeds from the chiles. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, remove from the heat and add the chiles. Cover the pot and let the chiles steep until soft, about 20-30 minutes. Drain (you can reserve the water to add flavor to other dishes, from boiled potatoes to poached eggs).

    2. TOAST the spices in a dry skillet on the stove top, until fragrant. Grind them in a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Add to a blender or food processor along with the chiles and the remaining ingredients, and purée. You want a thick paste, but can add additional oil to achieve the desired consistency.

    3. STORE in a sterile jar, for six months or longer in the fridge. Cover the surface with a thin layer of olive oil to keep the color from oxidizing. Each time you use some paste, add another layer of olive oil before returning to the fridge.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Dry Rubs For Meat & Poultry

    Spice Rub For Game
    [1] Take a look at the spices and herbs you own. Look for recipes online or use your own palate to choose what to use on your meat. These are some of the ingredients used in rubs for wild game by Wide Open Spaces.

    Spices
    [2] Pick what you want for your blend. Use smaller amounts of more intense spices (chiles, cumin, garlic, pepper, etc.) and larger amounts of base flavors (oregano, thyme, etc.). Use very small amounts of accent flavors like cardamom, cinnamon, lemon peel and nutmeg (photo courtesy M Magazine).

    Homemade Rubs

    [3] When you arrive at your signature rub, bottle it and give it as gifts. This one is from Dad Cooks Dinner.

     

    Just as you can throw together a vinaigrette or a marinade in one-two-three, you can make a rub for meats and poultry.

    Sure, you can buy them: But why pay big bucks for convenience foods when you can make them for pennies with ingredients you already own?

    Take a quick look at your spice shelf. Allspice, chili powder and ground chiles, cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, lemon peel, mustard powder, nutmeg, onion powder, paprika, sage and thyme all have a place in rubs (although a limit of five or so is best).

    When you mix your own, you can also eliminate the large amount of salt blended into commercial rubs.

    Rubs:

  • Seal the flavor of the meat.
  • Form a tasty crust on the meat.
  • Enhance the color of the cooked meat.
  •  
    Rubs pull moisture from the air, as they draw up the juices from the inside of the meat. This process (osmosis) causes the meat to marinate itself as it cooks.

    They can also be used on fish and vegetables.

    There are two types of rubs:

  • Dry rubs are blends of herbs and spices that are rubbed onto the meat before cooking. The rubs are hand-rubbed, or sprinkled, onto on the surface of meat before it goes onto the the grill.
  • A dry rub is best on food that is cooked faster, at a higher temperature; and on food that probably doesn’t need to tenderize, like shrimp or chicken.
  • Dry rubs are also preferable on steaks and chops. Chefs generally cook them simply with salt and pepper; but if you want to add other touches of flavor, reach for a dry rub.
  • Some of the spices on your shelf are rubs, such as chili powder, curry powder, jerk seasoning and Old Bay; there are numerous rubs in the spices section, reflecting different cuisines (Cajun, Indian, etc.) or foods (barbecue, pork).
  • Rub both sides of the protein. With a whole chicken, rub the inside of the cavity as well.
  • The more time the rub has to react with the meat prior to cooking, the more the flavor it will yield.
  • Wet rubs mix the spices with oil, water or prepared mustard, to spread onto the meat. Pesto is an example of a web rub, although it’s a versatile ingredient that’s also used as a sauce.
  • Any dry rub you have can be turned into a wet rub. When a dry mix combines with the meat juices, it turns into a paste anyway.
  •  
    Today we focus on dry rubs. If you’re grilling this weekend, it’s an opportunity to try different combinations.

    Try different combinations and proportions over time. If you make too much, give it to friends or neighbors.

    Aim for a signature blend for each of your favorite foods: burgers, chicken, steaks, etc. When you have that eureka! moment, you can bottle it as stocking stuffers or house gifts.

    WHAT GOES INTO A RUB?

  • Sweet. White or brown sugar is a common ingredient because it is a flavor enhancer, it helps browning, and with crust formation. No other sweetener can substitute. If you’re concerned about adding sugar, one expert estimates that in a slab of ribs there’s one teaspoon of sugar.
  • Savory. Savory flavors come from amino acids called glutamates, which is why MSG has been a popular flavor enhancer. Green herbs, some spices and garlic, among others, contain glutamates.
  • Spices and herbs. If you’re looking for a certain flavor—curry, sesame, whatever—add it. Paprika is often included as a color enhancer.
  • Spicy. For some sizzle, add some heat. Common additions are black pepper, cayenne or chipotle, ginger, horseradish, and mustard powder.
  •  
    Should you add salt to a rub?

     
    To avoid over-salting, we recommend leaving salt out of a rub, and salting the meat as you normally would. Then apply the rub.

    Note that you cannot judge how a rub will taste when it’s raw. It tastes very very different after cooking.

    When the juices of the meat mix with the herbs and spices and the heat of cooking, they undergo chemical reactions. Thus, a rub may taste too hot when raw, but just right when on top of a piece of cooked meat.

    Similarly, the flavors blend together. People who don’t like a particular spice may not even know that it’s there.
     
     
    RUBS VS. MARINADES

    You don’t use a both a rub and a marinade. Just use one for flavor. If you want to make the meat less tough, a marinade that includes vinegar is better. Otherwise, Pereg Natural Foods advises:

  • Rubs self-marinate the meat, so you don’t have to continue to brush with marinade as the meat cooks.
  • Rubs add a colorful and tasteful crust to the finished meat.
  • Rubs make it easier to control the final flavor of the meat.
  • Rubs are perfect for larger pieces of meat such as spareribs, briskets, and tenderloins.
  •  
    You can apply the rub a few days before you cook the meat, wrap it up in plastic wrap or butcher paper, and place it in the fridge until you’re getting ready to cook (move it to the counter first; don’t put cold meat on the grill).

    Add a generous portion of the rub at first to the meat. After it sits for a few days, add a bit more rub before cooking.

    Ready, set, blend!
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Use “Everything” Bagel Topping On Everything Else

    Everything Fish Fillet

    Everything Burger Bun

    Everything Bagel Spice Blend

    Everything Topping

    [1] At OB Surf Lodge in San Diego, the “Everything” salmon entrée, has the spice topping with a variety of sides (*below). [2] and [3] Homemade burger buns from King Arthur Flour, which sells the topping. [4] What should you top first (photo courtesy Take Two Tapas).

     

    First there was the “everything” bagel (history and recipe below), for people who wanted it all: onion, garlic, poppy seed, salt and sesame seed.

    Then it ported to everything crackers, lavash, hamburger buns, bagel chips, dips, pretzels, popcorn…and now, to protein.

    You can purchase it ready-blended (see photo #3 and check Trader Joe’s and other stores) or customize your own topping, e.g., leave out the salt and add red pepper flakes. If you mix up a lot, you can give it as gifts.

    Then, here’s what you can do with it. Notes:

  • A little goes a long way, so start small.
  • When baking, the garlic can burn after a while. Keep an eye on it and cover with foil when it turns light brown.
  • For baking bread, use an egg wash before sprinkling on the topping.
  •  
    EVERYTHING BREAKFAST

  • Avocado toast.
  • Cream cheese: Top the brick with the seasoning.
  • Eggs: For fried, first toast the seasoning mix in a non-stick pan with a bit of oil. Then add the eggs and sprinkle more seasoning on top. When ready, flip. For scrambled eggs, add more at the beginning; then no need to sprinkle on top.
  • Plain yogurt and cottage cheese.
  • Buttered toast.
  • Regular bagels (sprinkle it on the cream cheese, or brush the bagel with water and adhere to the top).
  •  
    EVERYTHING LUNCH

  • Burgers: Bake “everything” buns, or brush plain buns with water and sprinkle on the topping.
  • Cole slaw and potato salad.
  • Green salads.
  • Pasta: Sprinkle on mac and cheese.
  • Pizza: Mix into the dough, or sprinkle on the top.
  • Salad dressing.
  • Sandwich filling garnish.
  •  
    EVERYTHING DINNER

  • Grilled chicken or fish.
  • Pan-fried fish: Rub an inch-thick tuna or other steak with olive oil and everything mix. Sear in a very hot cast iron skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil, two minutes per side.
  • Pasta: Use with butter, olive oil, red or white sauce
  • Soup: Spread some Dijon mustard on the top, add the seasoning, drizzle with olive oil and roast in a 400°F oven for 5-8 minutes.
  •  
    EVERYTHING SIDES & SNACKS

  • Corn on the cob.
  • Dips.
  • Hard boiled eggs.
  • Focaccia.
  • Hummus.
  • Popcorn.
  • Potatoes and grains.
  • Soft cheeses: goat cheese log, ricotta.
  •  

     
    RECIPE: EVERYTHING BAGEL TOPPING

    Ingredients For About 1/3 Cup

  • 2 tablespoons black or white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons minced dried garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced dried onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon† coarse salt (kosher, sea salt)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TOAST the sesame seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat, until lightly browned, stirring occasionally (3 to 5 minutes). Transfer to the storage container and let cool.

    2. ADD the poppy seeds, onion, garlic and salt to the bowl and stir or shake to combine.

    3. STORE in an airtight container. As with all spices and dried herbs, store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.

     
     
    THE HISTORY OF THE “EVERYTHING” BAGEL

    When a high school student, David Gussin had a part-time job in a bagel shop in Howard Beach, Queens. He says he invented the “everything” bagel sometime around 1980.

    One of his jobs was to sweep out the the seeds that had fallen off bagels. Instead of throwing them out, he swept them into a bin and snacked on them, enjoying the toasty mixed flavors.

    One day, in a stroke of inspiration, Gussin envisioned a new bagel topping: poppy and sesame seeds mixed with other toppings. He proposed the “everything” bagel to the owner, and it was an instant hit with customers.

    Following a 2008 New Yorker article with his story, the digital marketing pioneer Seth Godin wrote on his blog, “Unfortunately, I worked in a bagel factory in 1977…baking bagels…including the “everything” bagel.

    Gussin’s response: “The last thing I want is a brouhaha over the ‘everything’ bagel. It brings smiles to people’s faces. It doesn’t deserve controversy. It’s a nice thing’.”

    _______________

    *In this dish, the chef has crusted the salmon with “everything,” and sauté it until the topping is toasted. The salmon is finished in the oven and served with crisp fried capers, lightly wilted arugula with red onion, polenta and buttermilk sauce.

    †We use much less salt than most recipes. We find “everything” bagels to have too much salt.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Different Margarita Rimmers

    chili-rim-richardsandovalrestaurants

    Half Rim Chipotle Salt Guava Margarita

    Smoked Salt Margarita Rim

    [1] Something different: a chili powder rim instead of salt. Or, mix the two. At Richard Sandoval restaurants. [2] A cayenne rim (Tajin seasoning) on a guava Margarita at Dos Caminos restaurants. [3] Smoked salt rims a classic Margarita from Noble Tequila.

     

    What’s your idea of the perfect margarita? With so many choices offered from salt to flavor, Milagro Tequila conducted a survey for National Margarita Day, February 22nd, and found that:

  • 91% of people prefer Margaritas fresh over those made with a pre-packaged mix (no surprise there!)
  • 1/3 of respondents prefer drinking their Margarita in a rocks glass rather than a big Margarita glass (you folks are the minority).
  • Nearly 2/3 of people prefer salt on the rim.
  • 70% of respondents prefer drinking from the salted rim rather than through a straw.
  • The majority of people prefer a classic Margarita to a fruit-flavored one (guava, passionfruit, peach, strawberry, etc.).
  • 40% like having an extra tequila shot mixed into their Margarita.
  • 2/3 of respondents prefer a Margarita made with blanco/silver tequila rather than the lightly aged reposado.
  •  
    THINK BEYOND THE COARSE SALT

    First, there’s no need to buy “Margarita salt”: It’s just kosher salt with a higher price. You can also use coarse sea salt.

    But how about something other than coarse salt? The 70% of survey participants who want a salt rim might like a change of pace.

    Here are some options that complement a Margarita.

    You can use another rimmer that still maintains the spirit of the Margarita (and maybe attracts people who don’t want the extra salt).

    Flavored salt. There’s flavored salt, of course, in scores of variations from bacon, chipotle, smoked salts (alderwood, chardonnay oak, hickory or mesquite-smoked).

    Colored salt. You can get dramatic, with black lava or Cypress black salt, or red Hawaiian alaea salt. You can get pretty, with pink Himalayan salt.

    Heat. You can add heat with ghost pepper, habanero, jalapeño, and sriracha-flavored salts.

    Or just use “hot” spices from your kitchen for the rim: cayenne, Tajin seasoning (cayenne-based), chili powder or crushed chile flakes—straight or mixed with kosher salt.

    If you think hot rims might be too intense, make the currently trending half-rim (photo #2).

    Fruitiness. You can add fruitiness with lemon, lime and mango-flavored salts.

    Herbaceousness. You can buy blends of salts and herbs, or mix your own. Or use straight minced cilantro, or other fresh herbs.

    For starters, take a look at Seasalt.com.

    MORE ABOUT MARGARITAS

  • Is It A Margarita Or Not?
  • Margarita History
  • Deconstructed Margarita Shots
  • Frozen Grape Margarita
  • Frozen Margarita Mocktail
  • Smoky Margarita
  •  

     
      

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