Fleur De Lis – Salt Crystal Dust
Fleur de sels are a salty water emulsion that forms on the surface of salty water when it evaporates. In its natural state fleur de sel is a coarse, thick, brittle salt. The salts in fleur de sel are very similar to talc. Talc is a naturally occurring material which is derived from clay. Talc is used for a variety of purposes including flooring, paint, and roof shingles.
Fleur de sels are not only used on cooking but also on the table salt. It has a salty taste buds and a somewhat pungent odor. Most sea food tends to have a strong flavor and fleur de sel brings that to your table. Most sea food tends to have a milder flavor so it can be used to add a hint of sweetness or saltiness to certain foods.
Fleur de sels are available in a variety of sizes and crystal shapes. Because of the way it evaporates the crystals form. The larger the crystal the thicker it gets and the harder it is to eat. A fleur de sel crystal can last for years if it is properly stored and maintained.
Fleur de ceramics are delicate and these tiny crystals tend to break easily. They can be purchased in large blocks but it is easier to purchase them in smaller crystal sheets. They will stay together and look more uniform if they are packaged properly. If the crystals are allowed to separate during shipping the final texture may vary but the softness and the subtle appearance of the fleur de sel crystals will be preserved.
The fleur de sel crystal is best stored in an unbreakable plastic container. The container should not be made of heavy paper as this can cause the salt pans to break. It is better to store them on a shelf or wire display case. Do not allow any sea salt to evaporate into sea water as this will affect its quality.
The fleur de sel crystals can be cracked or broken by gently removing the backing from each piece. Place each piece into a nylon stocking to keep them safe from damage and moisture content. When storing them in a freezer they should be stored in an upright glass bowl. Avoid placing them in metal containers as the crystals will most likely dissolve in the metal container. They are best stored out of direct sunlight and away from dampness, heat or cold. Sea salt has a slightly lower melting point than rock salt so be cautious when storing them in these conditions.
The fleur de sel is delicate and can be brittle when a slight shock comes about the container. Some experts feel that placing a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and leaving for two minutes will release its taste. Others feel that putting a fleur de sel in a glass of water and leaving for two minutes releases a salty taste which is liked. No matter what the experts suggest, take care to store them carefully to avoid evaporation and excessive loss of moisture content.
Fleur de lis and fleur de sel are both complex and flavorful. It is difficult to judge their taste by just one taste test. However, they are both excellent choices for table salt. Both have a smooth and salty taste, although fleur de sel tends to have a more intense flavor. To achieve the smooth flavor of fleur de sel it is best to use them with foods that have a subtle sweetness such as white cheese, cakes, pates, custards, and sweet breads.