Fleur de sel is a delicate French sea salt that is hand-harvested. This rare salt is formed by evaporating sea water in shallow marsh basins.
It has a very distinctive taste and texture that makes it the perfect finishing salt for grilled meats or fish dishes. It is also great for sprinkling over green salads and other savory dishes.
Harvested by hand
Fleur de sel is a very special kind of sea salt that’s harvested in France by hand. Unlike most other types of salt, which are mined using machines, fleur de sel is hand-harvested from salt pans by workers called “paludiers.” They rake the top layer of evaporated seawater out of salt marshes and into large salt pans.
The resulting salt is more delicate than ordinary table salt, and it contains minerals that give it a unique flavor. The trace minerals in fleur de sel, such as calcium and magnesium chloride, absorb moisture to pre-dissolve and release the salt’s complex flavors when rubbed on food.
Skilled employees harvest the salt by scraping the moist and flaky salt kernels that form on the top of the salt beds. This gives the salt a very unique texture and flavor that’s unlike any other sea salt.
This method of production is not as common as the way regular table salt is made, but it can be a very rewarding experience to witness. It takes a lot of time and patience, but the results are worth it.
Once harvested, the salt is sifted and cleaned to remove any stray debris. Then it’s packed into little containers (called “le saunier”), and sold at the local shop.
While a very rare and costly product, this delicate salt can add a Parisian flair to your meals. It can be sprinkled on salads, cooked vegetables, and lean meats before they’re served.
It’s also a delicious finishing salt, perfect for dishes that need a bit of extra saltiness just before they’re served. Try sprinkling it over a leafy green salad or a grilled steak, or topping a piece of fresh fruit or summer melon with it.
Because it’s not processed like other salts, fleur de sel is often thought to be healthier than table salt. However, there’s no scientific proof to support this claim, and it’s up to you to decide if fleur de sel is right for you. It’s also important to remember that a little goes a long way, so be sure to use it sparingly!
Fleur de sel is a unique form of salt that has been hand-harvested from sea ponds along the coast of France since prehistoric times. It has a delicate texture, similar to extra-fine salt, and can be used as a finishing salt to add a little more crunch to salads or grilled dishes.
It has a light, oceanic flavor that is sweet and slightly briny on the tongue. It also has a mild, earthy taste that lingers on the palate for a while.
To get the best fleur de sel, you should buy it from a specialty shop or online. The salt can be expensive, but it is worth the price for its unique flavor and texture.
In France, this type of salt is typically harvested off the coast of Brittany, but it is now also produced in Greece, Portugal, Spain, and even Canada. The difference between fleur de sel and other flake sea salts is the amount of moisture they contain.
The moisture content in the salt is a good thing, because it helps keep the flakes from melting immediately on your tongue and dissolving the flavors of the food. It also allows the salt to cling together and give it more body when it’s sprinkled on top of the food.
According to The Spruce Eats, the moisture in the salt can also help keep the flakes from being too large and creating a harsh texture when they melt on the dish. This is especially helpful when you use it as a garnish to enhance the visual appeal of your dish.
Another way to avoid the high cost of fleur de sel is by using it sparingly, so that it doesn’t dry out and lose its flavor. You can substitute it for regular table salt in your recipes, but be sure to use a lot less than you would regular sea salt, so that the taste is preserved.
If you are looking for a fleur de sel substitute, you can try Maldon sea salt, which has fewer flakes than fleur de sel and is more coarse in texture. However, this sea salt is low in moisture, so it won’t have the same delicate oceanic flavor as fleur de sel.
High in minerals
Fleur de sel is an artisanally harvested sea salt with a high mineral content. This salt has a more delicate taste and texture than traditional table salts, which are made from sodium chloride. It contains a variety of nutrients and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron, and is a healthier alternative to standard salts.
The best quality fleur de sel comes from France’s Guerande region, where salt marshes stretch 2000 hectares between the Loire and Vilaine rivers. This area is renowned for its sweet, delicate flavor and the unique shape of its crystals.
Unlike regular salt, which is extracted from mines, fleur de sel is manually raked from the surface of seawater evaporation ponds. It is then dried in the sun and wind to preserve its qualities and purity.
It is harvested only during specific times of the year when weather conditions are ideal. If these salt crystals are not harvested at the right time, they would sink to the bottom of the basin and lose their properties. This is what gives it its special status as a gourmet sea salt.
These crystals are then dried and cured by the French wind and sun, in order to retain their unique properties. They are then packaged in a glass container that can be stored in a cool, dry place.
Fleur de sel is a premium product, and while its price is higher than other sea salts, it is worth it for its unique qualities. It is a healthier alternative to standard table salts that contain sodium chloride and other impurities, and it is an excellent addition to salads, vegetables and roasted meats.
It is also a great finishing salt for dishes. Its high mineral content helps balance the other flavors of food, and it is also a good source of vitamin B12, which can be deficient in some people’s diets.
Although many salts contain clay and volcanic ash, these are not present in fleur de sel. Moreover, its high moisture content and smaller grain size provide it with a distinct texture that makes it more suitable for cooking.
Use as a finishing salt
Fleur de sel is often seen in high-end restaurants, and many chefs use this salt as a finishing salt to give their dishes a boost of flavor. It can be used as a last sprinkle on grilled meats, fish, potatoes, or vegetables to help elevate the dish’s flavor, but it also works well on desserts like creme brûlée and soft caramels to bring out the sweetness and add a burst of flavor.
Unlike other sea salts, which are refined to remove minerals and moisture, fleur de sel is natural and unrefined. This makes it high in trace calcium and magnesium chlorides, which absorb moisture before dissolving into the food. This allows the minerals to get into the food, delivering a complex seasoning that tastes like the sea.
Its delicate, almost flaky texture makes it a perfect finish to many foods that need a little extra boost of flavor before they’re served. It’s especially useful on salads and seafood, as it adds a layer of flavor that will linger on the tongue.
True fleur de sel is hand harvested from the surface of salt marshes on the coast of Brittany, France using traditional wooden rakes. The weather conditions must be just right to allow the salt crystals to form. This process is time-consuming and expensive, with prices ranging from $30 per pound to more than $100.
Another option for a fine finishing salt is Maldon, a southeastern English salt that comes from Blackwater estuary. This salt is formed by a chemical reaction between salt and air, producing unique hollow-pyramid-shaped crystals with a clean, fresh flavor.
While many of us are familiar with Maldon salt, a less common but similar product is Celtic sea salt, also known as sel gris. Its grey color and briny taste are derived from its oceanic origins, but it has a slightly different texture than fleur de sel.
Besides being harvested in different ways, both of these salts share a similar moist, luscious texture that you can find in other fine sea salts. Both are excellent as finishing salts, though you’ll want to avoid using them as a substitute for table salt because they don’t dissolve in water as easily and their saltiness can be overwhelming.