sea salt, Hawaiian black alaea salt, and Himalayan pink salt

The rise of paleo diets and the organic craze has changed the way that we look at food (and how much we’re willing to pay for that avocado), but one of the more niche aspects of the education of our palates, sea salt, never seems to get the credit that it deserves.

Sea salt isn’t just fancier and more expensive than table salt, it’s supposedly healthier for you too—though the science is still out on a lot of these claims. Unlike the salt you dump out of those huge ugly cardboard cylinders, sea salt is almost always organic. It’s born as water from the ocean evaporates and usually doesn’t go through the nasty processing that table salt endures. It really is the salt of the earth and its ocean origin makes it ideal for beach-friendly dishes.

Of course, different sorts of sea salt work better with different recipes. When considering which sea salt goes best with the dish you’re putting on the table, you can’t go wrong with pairing the location of the food and salt. Sea salt from one region of the world just seems to taste better with a recipe from that area.

Here are a few great recipes for the different types of sea salt:

pink Himalayan salt

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Our first sea salt recipe is for Himalayan pink salt, which is one of the more popular spices and most people say that it’s not as strong of a taste as other blends. Though it is marketed in a lot of different ways, the authentic spice comes from a region near Pakistan and you can tell it apart by its pink hue. Here’s a great, simple recipe for a Buddha vegan bowl that you can quadruple to serve a table.

fleur de sel (sea salt)

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Next, let’s take a trip to France, where they’ve perfected fleur de sel. The authentic grey salt comes from the coast of Brittany in northwest France, though you can also pick up a Portuguese blend that is almost indistinguishable. Fleur de sel has more of a bite than Himalayan pink salt, which makes it a perfect salt for topping your beachside margarita. Here’s a great and extremely simple recipe for red mullet fillets utilizing fleur de sel.

Hawaiian black alaea salt

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Finally, let’s take a look at the native salt of Hawaii, which can be either red or black and gets its coloring from the volcanic clay of the island (and is often referred to as Alaea salt). This has a gritty feel to it and it can be expensive and difficult to find outside the Hawaiian islands. Of course, since Hawaii is surrounded by water, this blend goes wonderfully on just about every kind of seafood but it’s definitely preferable for a sweet fish like mahi-mahi or yellowfin tuna. Pork is also a very popular dish in the Hawaiian Islands and if you’re feeling experimental, try a roasted pork dish with Alaea.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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