Fleur de sel is a fine finishing salt with light and delicate crystals that dissolve instantly when added to food. This salt is extremely popular with cooks and renowned chefs from around the world and has made an appearance as the best of sea salts into some of the most sought-out cookbooks.
A gourmet salt, fleur de sel is regarded as the caviar of salts and is an artisan salt, often given as a gift to foodie friends, and is used to finish sophisticated sweet dishes. It is even added to cookies.
Particularities of fleur de sel
Fleur de sel, in English ‘flower of salt’, forms on the surface of sea water as a delicate crust and the flakes are skimmed by hand from the surface of salt evaporation ponds. Only crystals from the top layer of the salt bed are collected.
Fleur de sel is particularly associated with the Brittany region in France, although other countries have attempted to produce a fleur de sel-like version, including America.
A company in Oregon first produced a similar salt crystal in 2013, collecting the crystals of the northwest Oregon coast. Their salt has been praised by American chef and cookbook writer Thomas Keller among other famous cooks.
But fleur de sel itself remains particular to Frenchmen who have been producing this delicate salt following a tradition hundreds of years old.
On the island of Ré, just off France’s Atlantic coast, for example, fleur de sel has been collected since the seventh century.
Guérande fleur de sel is harvested using traditional wooden tools, and so is fleur de sel de Camargue. Both are considered the finest among salts and contain a number of minerals and micronutrients. Fleur de sel is a source of calcium, magnesium, copper and other minerals.
The salt compliments fresh salads, vegetable dishes and desserts, and should be sprinkled right before consuming the food. If added while cooking, the high temperatures will annihilate the flavor and the unique character of the salt. It releases maximum flavor and draws out the flavor of the other ingredients when added just before serving the dish.
- Fleur de sel is thus one of the finest salts in the world.
- A 250-grams box of fleur de sel carries a household through an entire year when used sparingly.
- Fleur de sel brings out the full flavor of raw fish.
- Many producers sell beautifully packaged fleur de sel which makes it a wonderful luxury gift.
- Fleur de sell is a fantastic addition to all foods, but should not be wasted exposing it to high temperatures.
- Foods to add fleur de sel to include: salads; raw vegetables; pizza; oatmeal; salted caramels; fruit; meat; homemade chocolate; salted caramel cheesecake pie.
- It boosts the most complex flavor among all salts.
- Fleur de sel can be up to 200 times more expansive compared to table salt.
- At first, only women collected fleur de sel.
- Fleur de sel has high moisture content.