Sea salt (Recipe: Schlottz's knots)
A week of kid-friendly recipes from the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook by Georgeanne Brennan. Welcome to Dr. Seuss Week, Day One.
Here's the kind of question Dr. Seuss would have loved:
If the sea is blue, why is sea salt white, or grey, or pink?
Okay, the sea isn't really blue, except in all of the Dr. Seuss books, and in most children's books, and in some parts of the Caribbean where the clear water has an undeniably turquoise cast. Though I've never seen it in blue, sea salt does come in many colors (white, grey, pink, black), depending on the minerals in the region from which it is harvested.
Sea salt is a finishing salt, added after or near the end of cooking to brighten the flavor of food. Though salt is salt (containing approximately 2400 milligrams of sodium per teaspoon), sea salt has fewer crystals per teaspoon than table salt or kosher salt -- and, therefore, less sodium.
Made by the evaporation of sea water, sea salt is expensive, its high price fueled by popularity, limited supply, and labor-intensive harvesting methods. For example, fleur de sel, considered the best by many professional chefs, supposedly is formed when winds blow in just the right way over the summer sea off the coast of the village of Guerande, in Brittany. It's hand-harvested by workers who comb off only the top layer, the lightest and purest of the evaporate, in a tradition that has not changed for centuries.
If I had room for only one sea salt (golly... just one?), Portuguese flor de sal would be my choice. It's a white salt, beautiful and flavorful, everything you want in a finishing salt, and perfect in champagne vinegar red potato salad, honey and sea salt caramels, tangerine and jicama salad, black pepper and lime oven fries, or poached eggs with matcha salt.
You can even use it to turn choice steak into prime steak... or bread dough into an animal's tail.
And, while we are at it, consider the Schlottz,
the Crumple-horn, Web-footed, Green-bearded Schlottz,
whose tail is entailed with un-solvable knots.
(From Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss)
In the top photo, we brushed the "tails" with egg wash; in the bottom, just with water. Either way, they're delicious. Adapted from the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook by Georgeanne Brennan. Makes 6 long pretzels.
1 11-oz package of bread-stick dough (in the refrigerated aisle of your supermarket)
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp of water
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Separate the dough into 12 sticks; then, pinch together in twos, end to end, so you have six long pieces of dough. Roll out one piece of the dough with your hands into a "snake" 2 feet long and as thick around as two pencils.
Tie the dough into loose knots and "dribble" it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Repeat with remaining dough, using a second baking sheet if needed.
Brush each strand with some of the egg wash, then sprinkle on a little bit of the sea salt.
Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and firm. Let cool on the baking sheets for at least 10 minutes, or longer, so they don't break when you pick them up.