Flor da sal is salty seaweed that forms in marine waters as water evaporates from the surface of the sea. The exact species of flor de sal that forms depends on where the seawater is located. Fleur de sal or flor de sel is a salty salt which forms as a soft, thin crust on the exposed surface of seawater when it evaporates slowly.
Fleur de sels are collected from many locations in the Mediterranean and other seas around the world. It historically was used as both a curing salve and a purifying salve. Because it contains trace minerals and trace oils from plants it is beneficial for the skin. It is today used primarily to flavor foods and as an additional flavoring for cocktails and other drinks. Although flor do sal was widely used in the Middle Ages, during the Renaissance it became more well known in Spain, and then in France and Italy.
Flor de sels are harvested from areas along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. They can be harvested throughout the year, although the best seasons are in spring (March to May), summer (June to August), and autumn (September to October). The color and texture of the flor de sel vary slightly according to location, but most are white with silver or gold flecks. The smaller shells are usually the brighter colored ones. These flecks are harvested as small pieces to be packaged for sale as flor do sal.
When using flor de sels for culinary flavoring, the amount added depends on how much flavor the fish or shellfish may have. Usually three to four drops are needed for a recipe. More is not always better, so only use the amount the recipe calls for. If using for salty food, two to three tablespoons of salt are needed for each tablespoon of flor de sels added. If using for fish in a dish, it should be mixed with olive oil to dilute the flavor.
In many recipes, garlic is added to flor de sels for its pungent flavor. Garlic has many health benefits and is considered an appetite suppressant. It maintains healthy cholesterol levels, is anti-infective, and may lower blood pressure. For this reason, it is often used in combination with other herbs. Thyme, Rosemary, dill, sage, chamomile, dill, peppermint, and bay are sometimes used.
Flor de saal uses lemon as part of its floral infusions. Lemon is used in flor da recipes for its citrus flavor and fragrance. Other essences used include lavender, Rosemary, mint, and other herbs. They are combined in a base oil, made with rosewater and lemon to make a thick, clear fragrant liquid. The liquid is then used to rub into cold cuts or rinsed off after they have been cooked. The flor da makes an excellent accompaniment to grilled food.
Although flor de saal can be prepared for both cookery and baking, the best use is in the kitchen. Use flor de saal to decorate and freshen up dishes and desserts. Citrus fruits are at their all time fresh when they are bought fresh from the supermarket and this makes them a great choice for flavoring. Other fruits that work equally well for flavoring are mango, papaya, pineapple and avocado.
Citrus fruit makes an excellent garnish and is a fun way to incorporate fruits into your cooking and baking recipes. Use flor de saal to decorate pastas, salads, side dishes, pizzas, wraps and more. Use flor da to make a delicious accompaniment to cocktails. It tastes good and helps to add that special flavor to your cocktails. It also makes a great way to dress up tortillas, seafood, fish, burgers, and vegetables.