SALT OF EARTH AND SEA
We Irish love our salt and so many still lash it onto the dinner without tasting a morsel believing it has not been seasoned at all during the cooking process. Most mammies did not check flavouring in bygone days including my own so seasoning during cooking is relatively new to Ireland. Back then the provenance of salt was never questioned, salt was salt and you sprinkled your own on at the table. You did not ask where it came from either.
Now salt does get a bad rap from the health police but we do need it to survive but not in such excessive quantities like in convenience foods. It is a superfood with vital minerals for our bodies. Without salt intake our energy levels would be low, the sodium counts are important to manage however as we get older so everybody must figure out what is right for them intake wise. Too much makes us retain water and that’s where the problems start with blood pressure and heart trouble. About a teaspoon a day across all meals is actually all we need but make it a good salt I say. So watch your ingredients lists too, there is so much salt in foods now most people are far exceeding recommended limits.
These days we know from much research that pure, naturally sourced and manufactured salt is so much better for you. The commercial salts will have no end of additional ingredients if you look at the labelling. Okay they are perfectly legal but are they doing us any good? If I am putting salt into my food every lunch and dinner then I would like it to be as natural as possible for my body.
Some chefs will not even allow salt in a dining room as customers will then over season the food and maybe even complain about the taste. Salt was much valued in the past, so much so Roman soldiers were paid in bags of salt hence the word salary coming from their Latin word Sal, from which is variously named in many modern languages including ours. Central Europe was mined for it, sea water dried out for it as well as salt lakes so nature was providing this essential foodstuff from these sources. It really is one of the most important ingredients for cooking though some foods have a natural level and abundance of flavour that sometimes needs no additional seasoning like some fish or vegetables.
I first really appreciated salt in cooking when working in France where chefs were obsessed with which type of salt was to be used for which dish and there were the special salts from places like Guerande that were revered. Grinding it fresh in a mill was a given and being absolutely pin point with where it landed on the piece of meat or fish was crucial and not spraying half of it on the tray or pan. I was amazed the first time I saw pink salt back in the 1980’s presented to me like it was gold.
In Ireland about fifteen years ago a passionate food lover John Delany started producing sea salt from the pristine water off Clogher Head in Louth and now Ireland has its very own world class sea salt which has the ultimate European stamp of approval as being one of the few exclusive Irish food products granted PDO status awarded to distinct and important foods that deserve designated protection of their origin.
The company has gone from strength to strength now also producing an array of health related products all stemming from their superb salt. If you want to buy Irish salt and to be assured you are getting one of the very best in the world then Oriel Sea Salt is all you need to look for. I am using it for years and there is nothing like it.