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Preserving Salt's Crunch

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2011

We were disappointed when the flaky sea salt we sprinkled on fish fillets, steaks, and chicken breasts dissolved almost instantly in the food’s juices. So we went in search of a way to maintain the crunch.

Since the crunchy texture of a finishing salt is just as important as the seasoning it provides, we were disappointed when the flaky sea salt we sprinkled on fish fillets, steaks, and chicken breasts dissolved almost instantly in the food’s juices. In search of a way to maintain the crunch, we tried tossing Maldon Sea Salt Flakes (our favorite finishing salt) in a spoonful of oil to create a moisture barrier. While the oil-coated crystals indeed stayed intact on food (after 10 minutes they were unchanged), the oil caused the salt to clump, making even sprinkling virtually impossible. Next, we turned to vegetable oil spray, which produced a gossamer coating that precluded clumping—and dissolving. Simply discharge a 1/3-second spray into a small bowl (say “one,” and you’re done), add 1 1/2 teaspoons of flaky sea salt, and stir to coat. (Be sure to spritz first and then add the salt, lest the flakes fly everywhere.)