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Recipes using sea salt: Brownies, caramels, infused citrus

A sprinkling of sea salt balances the sweetness of these fudgy, caramel-covered brownies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Christina Symons

Not all salts are created equal, especially when it comes to cooking and baking. Sea salt has more taste than table salt, depending on its trace minerals, and aficionados say the taste differs depending on the waters it was taken from.

READ MORE: What’s the difference between sea salt and table salt?

Here are some recipes to try that feature sea salt:

Sea Salt and Caramel Brownies

The sweet caramel in these moist, fudgy brownies is beautifully offset by a sprinkling of sea salt.

Brownies

  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 60 g (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 500 ml (2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 250 ml (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) plus 30 ml (2 tbsp) unsweetened cocoa

Caramel

  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) light corn syrup
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) whipping cream
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

Garnish

  • Sea salt

Brownies: Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Line a 23-cm (9-inch) square metal cake pan with parchment paper. Spray lightly with cooking oil. Set aside.

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In a large saucepan, melt butter with chocolate over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla. Slowly add chocolate mixture, stirring until thoroughly incorporated. Sift flour and cocoa together and fold into batter until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth surface.

Bake brownies in middle of oven for about 35 minutes, until edges are set and a toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean. Let cool at room temperature in pan for 1 hour.

Caramel: In a heavy saucepan, bring sugar, corn syrup, water and salt to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring, until mixture turns a golden caramel colour, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream and vanilla.

To assemble, pour caramel over cooled brownies, spreading evenly. Let cool completely in pan in refrigerator.

Once cooled, scatter sea salt over top. Gripping edges of parchment paper, lift brownies from pan. Remove paper. Cut brownies into 16 squares. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container and serve at room temperature.

Makes 16 brownies.

Source: “Sea Salt: Recipes from the West Coast Galley” by Alison Malone Eathorne, Hilary Malone and Lorna Malone (Harbour Publishing, 2013).

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Mandarin Orange and Key Lime Infused Canadian Sea Salt

You can buy sea salt infused with various flavours, but you can also make your own. This one is super easy to prepare and tastes great with fish, fresh greens or on the rim of a cocktail glass.

Truly unrefined sea salt should be a bit moist and slightly greyish.

  • 2 mandarin oranges
  • 3 key limes
  • 1 lb (500 g) unrefined Canadian sea salt (see tip)

With a sharp fruit peeler or vegetable knife, remove skin from fruit. (Don’t be too concerned if some of the white pith is left on the skin as this actually will help infusion.) Dice fruit peel but don’t overdo it as little chunks are nice on the rim of a cocktail or juice glass.

Thoroughly mix diced peel with sea salt, then seal mixture in a large resealable bag. Place sealed salt in a dark cupboard and leave untouched for 24 to 36 hours. (When you retrieve the bag from the cupboard, the salt should be very wet and sticky with fruit juice and a bit orange in colour.)

Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F).

Dump wet sea salt in a roasting pan and place in oven. Stir salt every 30 minutes (and more frequently if it starts to get crispy on top) until it is mostly dry. (To check readiness, pull some salt to the side so you can see the bottom of the pan; if the pan’s bottom appears dry, the salt is done.)

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Let salt cool thoroughly before storing in a sealed container.

Makes 500 g (1 lb).

Source: Andrew Shepherd, Vancouver Island Salt Company, Cobble Hill, B.C.

Fingerling Potatoes Cooked in Duck Fat and Finished With Sea Salt

Used as a finishing salt, sea salt gives this side dish a shot of flavour and crunch. Olive oil can be substituted for the duck fat.

  • 500 ml (2 cups) rendered duck fat
  • 500 g (1 lb) fingerling potatoes, skin on, washed and cut in half
  • Sprig roughly chopped fresh thyme
  • Sprig roughly chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • Black pepper
  • Sea salt

Preheat oven to 150 C (300 F).

Place duck fat in a 2.5-cm (1-inch) deep pan and set in oven. When fat is melted, place potatoes, thyme, rosemary and garlic in pan. Spread potatoes out in a single layer.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn potatoes over with a fork and bake for 10 minutes longer.

Check doneness of potatoes. If they’re tender, remove from oven and from oil, season to taste with black pepper and sea salt and serve. If they’re not done, bake for another 5 minutes or until tender before seasoning.

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Makes 4 to 6 servings as a side dish.

Source: Peter Burt, Newfoundland Salt Co., St. John’s, N.L.

Molasses Caramels With Sea Salt

The sweetness of caramel and the tang of a little sea salt are a complementary pairing in these delicious treats.

  • 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) molasses
  • 250 ml (1 cup) 35 per cent (whipping) cream
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) butter, cubed
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) sea salt

Line a 23-cm (9-inch) square pan with parchment paper.

In a large, heavy-bottom pot, cook sugar and molasses until sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook without stirring until liquid is bubbling but do not burn. This should take about 5 minutes.

While sugar is caramelizing, slowly heat cream over low heat.

Once sugar and molasses begin to caramelize, slowly whisk in butter, then carefully whisk in cream and sea salt. Continue to cook caramel until a candy thermometer reaches 120 C (250 F.)

Pour hot caramel into parchment-lined pan and let cool at room temperature before cooling completely in fridge.

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Cut caramels into desired shape and size, then garnish each piece with a flake of sea salt. Wrap caramels well with plastic wrap and store in fridge for up to a week.

Makes about 40 portions, each 5 cm (2 inches) square.

Source: Peter Burt, Newfoundland Salt Co., St. John’s, N.L.

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