My Sister went to Paris and brought me back some FDS
It seems to me so many food bloggers rave about the use of fleur de sel. When my sister offered to bring me back something from her trip to Paris, the first that came to my mind was fleur de sel. But which fleur de sel? I've been reading enough to know its not just any ordinary sea salt, but there are many grades and varieties. I figured, how expensive can salt be right? I'm an avid reader of David Lebovitz's blog, and he says that his absolute favouritest is Fleur de Sel de Guérande.
So after giving several smses to my sister to give more precise instructions, the clever girl found some at Galleries Lafayette (correct spelling?) at about 6 Euro a packet of 250 grams. Exorbitant since thats about 12 Singapore Dollars a bag, when its 60 cents for 250 grams of table salt here. Thats about 20 times more expensive. But it is indeed the loveliest stuff, and being salt, it's not the kind of thing you use by the tablespoon.
I was really excited to use it, so the first thing I used it for was one of the simplest ways I know to appreciate salt.
Yeps, on a nice red juicy tomato. One knows its not easy to find excellent red tomatoes that do not cost an arm and a leg at your friendly neighbourhood supermarket, (and if I do I eat them like fruit without anything on them because its such a luxury). But recently it seems to be tomato season because there's just heaps of tomatoes at the nearby wet market, and being sold at $1.50 a kilogram, meaning about US$1.00 for the equivalent of about 2lbs. If you're careful at the tomato picking from the heaps, you can get good coloured specimens with decent tomato flavour. Compared to the hothouse tomatoes I got from superfresh (when in the US), its wayyyy cheaper for better flavour.
There's just something about the sweet, tart juiciness of tomatoes that suck up the saltiness of.. salt. And this FDS is amazing. I can put a fat grain of it on my tongue and feel the ocean/sea without cringing, wanting to spit, or drink a whole glass of water. Amazing.
Somehow I feel that it will not be suitable for my everyday cooking though, and it will be mighty expensive to use it in my chinese style stir fries etc, I'll gladly use superior soy sauce for that (another rather pricey basic condiment, will save for another post), and somehow they require the harsher but more intense table salt flavour.
I keep a little plastic container of the FDS on my desk at work, to use on my salads on the days I bring salads etc to work for my lunch.
Asides from that though I need to figure out some other ways to use this precious stuff, hand-raked off salt water puddles and brought to me halfway across the world here in sunny Singapore. I used some of it in the tuna salad I made, and it tasted pretty good. (The tuna salad was my attempt at replicating the swordfish mousse starter at le Papillion, I even used homemade mayonnaise and served it with beetroot) But I agree with David that it does this FDS more justice to use it as a finishing salt where you can crunch gently into the soft crystals that did not melt and enjoy the fresh ocean taste in your mouth.
Next up, I will try it on a baked potato.