Sea Salt & Capers
Vincenzo Gucciardo WWF Sea SaltPrint This Page
You may have figured out that Sicily is a great place for all things salty: capers, anchovies, sardines (and with its north African culinary influences, Sicilians love to create agrodolce dishes that bring out both sweet and sour). The surrounding seas provide a wealth of ingredients for the Sicilian diet, and at the base of all that is, naturally, sea salt.
The more I use this sea salt the more I realize it’s head and shoulders above other sea salts. Its intense flavor means you don’t have to use as much either. Not surprisingly, it has a good story behind it.
The mill for Vincenzo Gucciardo sea salt was built in 1884 and placed inside the Trapani preserve run by the World Wildlife Fund on the northwest tip of Sicily. The salt pans are filled with sea water in the spring and left to evaporate in the heat of the summer sun. It is a natural salt rich in iodine, fluorine, magnesium, and potassium with a much lower percentage of sodium chloride than regular table salt.
Use the fine salt as a replacement for table salt (oh, what a difference!) and use the coarse salt in boiling water for pasta or in the marinade of a slow-cooked roast. Fiore di sale (the Italian equivalent of France’s fleur de sel, or “flower of salt”) is considered the best quality, as it is scraped from the top layer of the salt pans. It has a somewhat damp texture, but small crystals that melt faster than regular salt. It is best used as a garnish, sprinkling over a dish at the end, and a great way to start out experimenting is over summer tomatoes with a little extra virgin olive oil and torn basil leaves.