Ingredient Spotlight: Fleur de Sel

A friend brought us this little pot of sea salt as a souvenir from her travels in France. It's been sitting in our cupboard staring at us every time we open the door, tempting us and begging to be used. How should we use our fleur de sel?

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Fleur de sel is like the extra-virgin olive oil of the salt world. It's the first, most fragile salt crystals that form at the top of the sea water as it evaporates. The grains are flaky and can range in color from grey to pink due to the natural minerals in the water. Those in the know claim that fleur de sel also has a particularly nuanced and delicate flavor that sets it above regular sea salt that comes from fully-evaporated sea water.

Fleur de sel makes a great finishing salt - in fact it's too expensive and rare to use for much else! We've been adding a few pinches to our dinner salads, and we like the subtle crunch and sharp spikes of saltiness it adds. We also really enjoy it simply sprinkled over fresh bread dipped in olive oil! We're thinking of trying it next with fresh summer melon and yogurt lassis.

Fleur de sel is also the salt of choice for bakers and candy makers. They it use for making salted caramels, chocolates, and other surprising confections. We'll have to be sure to save some for our holiday baking!

What else would you recommend doing with fleur de sel?

Related: Simple Pleasures: Radishes with Butter and Sea Salt

(Images: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)