The curious shopper can find the darndest things. Selected Schnucks are carrying some interesting salts, the best known of which probably is sel gris, a sea salt that comes in large creamy flakes. Beyond that -- indeed, well beyond that -- are a red Hawaiian salt, called Alaea, receiving its color from the red clay of the neighborhood, with another Hawaiian entry, Hiwa Kai, black from volcanic ash. A Mediterranean entry is called Cyprus Black, and there’s an American salt, Salish, which is smoked over alder wood.
So what do you do with them? I’ve tasted the sel gris sprinkled over a slice of good bread and high-quality unsalted butter, a great combination of chew, smoothness and crunch. I bought some Alaea on our last trip to Hawaii a few years ago and thought it looked good sprinkled over mashed potatoes or on sour-cream-topped baked potatoes. Some people suggest using it for color contrast on the rim of a margarita, but it’s rather pale for that. The black salts give even more color contrast, but on the whole, simple foods show off the subtle flavor differences better. Still, the thought of the rim of a bloody Mary glass coated with the smoked salt keeps running through my head.
Not a novelty item at $16.99 a pound, they’re sold near the olive bar in deli containers of about a half-pound each.
Artisan Salt Company