What is Fleur de Sel?
Fleur de sel is a special, expensive kind of sea salt harvested by hand. When salt is made by nature in the sea, what you end up with are crystals that come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are flat, while others are shaped like tiny pyramids or cubes; some have a dull grey color, while others are almost transparent. The ones that look like tiny glass beads have been dried before being picked off the rocks and aren’t as good for cooking as those harvested directly from seawater. Fleur de sel (French for “flower of salt”) is what’s left: sky-blue crystals that are so delicate and light, they seem to carry their own weight on the breeze.
Fleur de sel is prized by chefs for its intense flavor. It’s what you get when the top layer of sea salt from a shallow salt bed is hand-harvested just before it gets rained on,
so what goes into that refined white box or pretty glass jar will not be anything like what we’d buy at our local supermarket. It’s fleur de sel because it literally means “flower of salt” in French.
The term comes from the natural crystals’ resemblance to flower petals and how they form through evaporation due to the sun and wind over several days in early summer, on flat surfaces near where the ocean meets with rivers.
It also does not form in large salt marshes or deep within the ocean, which is what most sea salt comes from. So what you get are these tiny, delicate crystals that taste like caramel or honey once it dissolves on your tongue.
Fleur de sel can be enjoyed as a finishing salt sprinkled over any dish just before serving to add an extra layer. It also does wonders for simpler dishes such as roasted nuts, fish, and veggies but I prefer to sprinkle it for more complex recipes where its delicate nature will not be overpowered (and where my wallet doesn’t complain).
How Should I Store Fleur de Sel?
Handling fleur de sel requires a little bit of care because it’s super fine and super delicate. It is best stored in a cool, dry place in an air-tight container such as a mason jar. You can also just keep it in its original packaging if you buy it. But as fleur de sel is quite pricey, I prefer to store what I don’t need right away for later use so I tend to transfer what’s left of my supply into a mason jar.
How To Use Fleur De Sel?I think that fleur de sel is best used during cooking rather than at the table. It should not be mistaken for an expensive finishing salt but instead as what it really is. But unlike ordinary sea salt, I wouldn’t add it into your dish after cooking. I prefer to add fleur de sel during cooking because what I find lacking is sea salt. And since what goes into the box or jar won’t be what we’re getting from our supermarket shelves. Fleur de sel should be added either just before serving right towards the end of cooking. As delicate as it is, what you’ll want to do is sprinkle fleur de sel into your dish. This way, what you’re getting from fleur de sel will be properly released.
How Much Fleur De Sel Should I Add? Here are some guidelines on how much fleur de sel you should add:
- for fish – 1/2 teaspoon per pound of meat or fillet – for veggies or other small vegetables- 1/4 teaspoon; for larger vegetables
2. for meat or veggie stews and soups – a pinch, added when you add your herbs or after the soup has been allowed to cook for about an hour.
How To Use It In Your Meal?
How Do I Plate And Garnish With Fleur De Sel? This is what separates the home cook from the professional chef, and what makes such a difference. It’s what can make your cooking stand out from others. Think of fleur de sel as one of those ingredients that will elevate even some of the most simple dishes into something extraordinary when you sprinkle it over them.
Fleur de sel is what’s left after the crystals have been harvested and dried, which means it is very expensive because it takes much more labor to produce. The best fleurs de sel are harvested from Brittany by hand, where the weather conditions are best for growing crystals.
The town of Guérande on France’s Atlantic coast offers some of the finest fleur de sel in the world. Fleur de sel salt actually comes in three different colors – white (from Cap Ferret), grey (from Camargue) and pink (from Wajima). All you need to do to unlock its flavor is sprinkle some over an otherwise ordinary dish, whether it be a grilled steak or mashed potato.
Why It Is So Special?
The first thing you need to know is what type of plate or dish you should use when serving. I prefer to use what I call the smooth plate. This is opposed to what I call the rough plate which is what you get. It’s what we’re all used to seeing in everyday dining. The smaller the fleur de sel crystals, the easier it will be for them to cling to what you’ve plated.
The next thing to consider when adding fleur de sel is how much you should sprinkle it. I tend to use what I call ‘a light pinch’ but that’s just something that works for me.
Fleur de sel takes what we eat from being good to becoming great so even if what you’re cooking. And as what goes into your dish will not be what you get on your plate.
Method Of Usage:
Place the crabs in a large, cold pan of boiling water. Cook for 6 minutes, drain and leave to cool slightly. Remove from the shells and discard the heads.
To make the garlic butter: Heat your oven to 160C/140C fan/325F/Gas Mark 3 . Add garlic, fleur de sel, lemon juice, egg yolks, and flour into a food processor until combined thoroughly.
Heat vegetable oil over high heat in a wide pan or wok with deep sides. Drain three-quarters of the liquid from crabs; add crabmeat and stir vigorously until golden brown (about 5 minutes). Add wine and lemons; cook for another 20 minutes.
Is It Worth to Buy Fleur De Sel
I tend to reserve what I use for the table until my dish has been plated, and what’s left gets sprinkled over what I’ve just cooked. Here is what I do: a pinch of fleur de sel on top of a freshly cut slice of bread.
Once you are finished, feel free to give what’s leftover to your friends.
Serve with: seafood dishes like oysters or scallops and pasta salads with fresh herbs.
Heston Blumenthal techniques on Great Britain’s most-watched TV series, “In Search of Perfection” – The Hot Rock Crab To make this dish you will need 8 large live rock crabs (about 1.25kg) 2 full heads of garlic 2 tablespoons fleur de sel 200g unsalted butter For the pan juices: juice of 4 lemons 10 egg yolks 100g plain flour 100ml olive oil 300ml vegetable oil 1-liter white wine 330ml single cream.