Gift Guide 2020: Super Salt

December 4, 2020

It looks like brown sugar, but it’s the most amazing salt. On the theory that you can’t have too many kinds of salt, I suggest a different one every year as a small but thoughtful Christmas gift.

But I’ve never encountered anything quite like Red Boat salt. Open the package and the most extraordinarily funky aroma comes leaping out. As the package says, “Caution, use sparingly”. But like the fish sauce that it’s made from, the flavor is quite different from the smell. Sprinkle a bit on anything you cook – vegetables, stews, steaks, chowder – and the umami does wonders, giving even the simplest dish depth and complexity.

This is not sea salt. (If you’re looking for great sea salt, I’m still a fan of Bitterman.) This is made from the great Red Boat fish sauce that’s been fermented in mango wood barrels and then dried. You wouldn’t want to put it on the table, but if you have an adventurous cook on your list, they’ll be very happy to have this incredible salt sitting by the side of the stove.

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