So we finally got a Whole Foods! And they have weird salt bins full of fancy salts! Yay!
I understand that fancy salts are really for the table (that you can’t really taste all the fanciness in cooked foods.) We got pink and black Hawaiian salt - the pink has really big crystals, the black has medium ones. So obviously you’re supposed to use them on the table.
If we were to throw a dinner party what’s the best sort of thing to enjoy them on? Totally open to suggestions here - usually I don’t use salt at the table at all because I grew up in a heart-attack household and once I started cooking I learned all about salting things right on the stovetop. So I don’t know how to enjoy this stuff. (Except for the salt cellars - I ordered beautiful vintage ones from Ebay. Obviously. Got that covered.)
Small, transparent salt grinders. Or, pepper grinders, and put salt in them. Chances are they could use a little grinding before adding at the table; my girlfriend uses the Hawaiian salt and carries a grinder in her purse.
Fancy salts are as much (or more) a texture thing than a taste thing. You might be able to taste smoked salt, or herb-infused salt, but pink salt versus black versus whatever? It’s very subtle, almost imperceptible unless you’re tasting by itself (which, of course, people do).
Texture-wise, though, there’s definitely a difference, and that’s what you want to highlight. I like fleur de sel sprinkled on steaks or pork right before serving; it melts slower than normal salt and is not as strong as table salt, so it gives you little crunchy salt bombs as you eat (like DataX said…)
Same thing if you sprinkle it on appetizers. You want to do it RIGHT before serving, and do it with something it can melt into. Dips, tomatoes cut in half, etc. It’s not going to do anything on dry things - give it some moisture to mix with.
I think the best food thing to highlight it might be a really good bread and butter, like Tara57 said. A fresh, quality baguette, some high-fat unsalted butter, and pink salt? Sign me up.
On way you can use it when cooking is to bake foccacia and top it with some unsalty toppings and then a sprinkling of sea salt. The crunch stays and I love Athena’s phrase so I’m going to steal it, the salt bombs are marvelous. My personal favorite is tomatoes tossed in olive oil and basil with a sprinkle of salt. Very simple and very delicious.