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May 24, 2007

Kosher salt (Recipe: Moroccan eggplant salad)

Koshersalt

This post has been updated. Please click through to Kosher salt (Recipe: Moroccan eggplant salad) to read the post with new photos, links, and tweaks to the recipe.

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Comments

What a timely posting! My boyfriend flipped through an American food magazine yesterday, which mentioned kosher salt, and he was asking me what it was. I got it more or less correctly, but just roughly, without much detail. I can give him a much better explanation tonight (or just direct him to your blog:)

Lydia,

Tks for clarifying the difference between the types of salt. Very useful info!

Lydia,

Thanks for the informative post. Just don't hate me too much for using Morton's!

I use it all the time, though can never find Diamond Crystal so it's been Morton's for me. Thanks for the online address. And thanks, thanks, thanks for the gorgeous eggplant recipe! Looks sensational!

It's not just salt any more! Great info!
So when is salt not kosher?

That was so interesting - I had no idea that the crystalline forms were actually different. I guess no one polices the shape of grain to separate mortons kosher and the other guys. Is there a discernible taste difference between the two?

Thanks for the primer. Now I have to get a magnifying glass out and look at my salts.
I've never seen kosher salt here and everything is 'sea salt' of varying types. I have to look at what I use for pickling... Actually, I've used it for 3 years and we're still alive so I'll assume it's okay...
The ultimate test....

I always have kosher salt in my pantry, but it's usually Morton's. Thank you for giving me the head's up about Diamond! You're the best!

Glad you referenced Shirley Corriher. She's a much more fun read than Cook's Illustrated. Somehow I can't see Christopher Kimball on "Good Eats" like Shirley was.

Excellent explanation, Lydia. Thanks! I'm wondering, do you prefer sea salt in certain dishes? I just bought large crystal sea salt and found that I have to use much less of it to flavor food.

Pille, it never occurred to me that what we call kosher salt in the US might be called something else in other countries. If you find that to be true, please let us know.

Patricia, you're most welcome!

Jerry, I've used Morton's, too. It's very different, but still better than iodized table salt. I'm a big fan of using what you can find and what tastes best to you!

Christine, a neighbor taught me this recipe years ago. And today I was at the Asian market and found beautiful Japanese eggplant, so I'm going to make this salad tonight.

Tanna, I believe it's not kosher when there are additives in it -- but as a rule, when salt is labeled "kosher salt", it's additive-free.

Claire, I didn't realize it either until I read Cookwise. I do find that there is a slightly different taste (though salt is salt....), but more than that, the two brands act very differently when you cook with them.

Katie, any salt will work for pickling, but now that I've stopped using table salt, I can really taste the iodine whenever I do have it.

Sher, it would be fun to do your own taste test. I tried it once, and I was surprised that I could taste the difference.

Susan, Shirley Corriher on Good Eats was a hoot! She makes everything so clear, and yet she has a great sense of humor (like Alton Brown). Christopher Kimball -- sense of humor? Hmmmmmm.

Susan, I have a few kinds of sea salt in my pantry, and I love it -- but I always use it right at the end as a finishing salt, so it really almost sits on top of the food instead of melting inside it. I think that's why you use less of it, because the salt taste is right out there in the open. I especially love sea salt on matzoh brei, omelets, and anything eggy -- and on grilled fish, after I'm finished cooking it and right before I serve it.

Ohhh a hollow pyramid salt snowflake with the power to draw blood! Cool imagery, but can I admit to liking Christopher Kimball's bowtie?

Great post as always, Lydia! You know, I have used Diamond for years, then moved to Missouri and there is no Diamond brand kosher salt to be found in the supermarkets! :( I started using Morton and really don't like it much (my food was salty for weeks till I adjusted to it).
That eggplant salad looks perfectly delicious!

We don't really have Kosher salt here in the local supermarkets (arount these parts anyhoo) but I do love the thick granules of salt and my favourite is Maldon. For what it's worth!!

Callipygia, a bowtie thing, eh? Yes, you can admit it -- we won't tell anyone!

Nupur, I wondered whether Diamond Crystal was a regional brand. There are good sources online, fortunately.

Freya, I adore Maldon sea salt too! There's also a great Portuguese flor de sal that always sits on my spice rack.

I didn't know that regular salt and kosher salt measured differently, which may explain some past kitchen disasters! Great information!

Recently I read an article about the various kinds of salt, I forgot which publication but it was a real opener to me! There are so many different kinds of them and some of them are even quite expensive! ;)

TW, trial and error is how I learned to cook!

Rasa Malaysia, some of the sea salts that are harvested by hand are very expensive, but they can be very delicious so it's worth the cost.

Lydia, thanks for explaining the distinction between Morton and Diamond brands of kosher salt. As Nupur mentioned, it's difficult to find Diamond in the grocery stores here (although, FYI Nupur, it is available at Penzeys and a few Dierbergs stores)
Morton is much saltier. I'm trying to use up my box by throwing it into the pasta water!

Karen, I didn't know Penzeys carries Diamond Crystal -- that's great to know. Funny how, if salt is salt, some salt is saltier -- but it's true.

Question for you - I know salt draws moisture out - but its so counterintuitive as a Chinese chef when we always marinate our meats in soy sauce/wine/sugar/cornstarch/ses oil. Usually 10-20 minutes. I wonder why? Gives great flavor, but I hate to think that the soy is drawing out moisture. (hmmmm...cross-eyed confused identity shaken look)

Steamy, my guess is that it's the crystals of salt that wick the moisture out of meat in the melting process. Soy sauce is not crystalline -- it just tastes salty, but it is not actually salt. In Chinese cooking the meat is always marinated for just a few minutes. In French or Greek or other cuisines, meat is sometimes marinated overnight -- but generally there is not salt in those marinades (they use wine or lemon juice or olive oil, or other strong herb flavors).

I only cook with kosher salt, I always use Morton's, as they don't carry Diamond Crystal at any stores near where I live. I use kosher salt in all of my cooking, baking, and as my table salt, since I don't use iodized table salt at all, too metallic and chemically tasting! Yuck! I also do use sea salt as well, both regular and fine, but I use it as a finishing salt only. It has a brine-like flavor, which is not salty.

Bryan, I agree about the taste of iodized salt, and I don't use it. But when I was researching a recent post about table salt (http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2007/10/salt-iodized.html), I discovered that iodine deficiency is still a real public health threat in many parts of the world, so iodized salt still has a role to play. I use several different sea salts now, for finishing.

Thanks for the info regarding Morton's Kosher salt. I have always used Diamond and recently saw Morton's. I saw that it puts sugar in its table salt. I especially like some of the Hawaiian salts for finishing.

Ameena, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. Thank goodness for nutrition labeling -- it's important to read the labels even for salt! I like the Hawaiian sea salts, too.

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