Fleur de sel is harvested by skimming the surface of salt ponds, over which a layer of crystals is formed through wind action. Fleur de sel is distinguished by its large crystals (not to be confused with coarse sea salt, which refers to the salt crystals that sink to the bottom of the salt pans), and it is harvested in the late afternoon or evening in dry weather using a special rake called a lousse à fleur. In France, fleur de sel comes from Guérande, île de Ré and Nourmoitier. Its very fine and briny flavor has a privileged place in cooking.
Choose fleur de sel that is pinkish white, light, and flaky. Fleur de sel from Guérande has Label Rouge status for its quality.
Fleur de sel readily dissolves when cooked. This lets it dissolve on meat (roast beef, rack of lamb) and fish. Only use it at the end.
Fleur de sel seasons as well as ordinary salt, but it can also be used in more sophisticated ways. It is ideal with fish and meat dishes, and it is also used in desserts, such as religieuse with salted butter caramel. It is a perfect complement for dark chocolate. Try truffles with fleur de sel.
Store fleur de sel inside a container made of glass or wood, and keep it away from light. It should stay slightly moist.
Salt has no nutritional value. However, it thins the blood, regulates the body’s water content, and promotes digestion. Fleur de sel contains trace elements and magnesium.