Its only after I starter food blogging did I come across so many different types of ingredients and methods. Fleur de Sel, meaning flower of salt, was one such ingredient that made me wonder what it tasted like. The numerous recipes that called for Fleur de Sel, like salted caramel and chocolate tarts, I had no choice but to use normal sea salt since I just couldn't get my hands on Fleur de Sel.
Eco Market is an online marketplace where you can buy natural products directly from the sellers that make them. I think its a really cool concept and so didn't think twice when they asked if I wanted to review any of their spices, herbs, and seasoning. I had spotted Fleur de Sel on the list and thats exactly what I wanted. It came as part of the French stack from Steenbergs, a set of 3 organic French culinary essentials - Fleur de Sel, Herbes de Provence and black pepper. Neatly packed in small glass containers, these would definitely make a great gift for those with a culinary side.
It was my first time with fds and I didn't know what to expect. I opened the bottle to find really moist salt flakes, and worried if it was supposed to be otherwise, I immediately wrote to Sophie, owner of Steenbergs. This was her reply:
'No that is exactly how it’s meant to be. The salt is sun dried in traditional salt pans in the Algarve so it always retains some moisture, as opposed to factory dried which removes it all. The salt is part of the slow movement group and has nothing added or taken away.'
She also added, 'The Fleur de sel means it is the cream of the crop, the flakier salt that goes to the top of the pan. Not for grinding.'
That was so helpful and off I went to make something with the gorgeous looking salt. It had to be a salad, simple and summery with a generous sprinkling of fds. This tomato and cucumber salad thoroughly did justice to the authentic taste of the salt with the saltiness cutting through the acidic tomatoes and cool cucumber. The pepper container hasn't been open as yet, but I did use the Herbes de Provence for my roasted potatoes and they were delish.
If you have tasted fds, then its very difficult to actually go back to using normal sea salt. That said, they don't come cheap. Although I would like to sprinkle it on every possible salad, fruit and chocolate, the fact that it is expensive and not readily available in my local grocery store makes me stop and think twice. But hey, that's what Eco Market is for right? :)
Over to the recipe. There is no precise measurement for the salad, you kind of eye ball it and add/ reduce stuff.
Salad cucumber- 1 large, peeled and diced (around 1 cup)
Red onion- 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Oregano- 1 tsp
Olive oil- a generous splash
Lime juice- 2 to 3 splashes
Fleur de Sel- 1/2 to 3/4th tsp (adjust as per taste)
In a salad bowl, mix together the first 6 ingredients, one after the other.
Toss them well so that the oil and lime juice and oregano gets mixed well with the vegetables.
Just before serving, sprinkle the Fleur de Sel on top of the salad and serve generous portions.
We had it with some grilled fish and garlic bread.
PS: A special thanks to Finla for the gorgeous bowl in the picture. Its been treasured :)
With thanks to Eco Market and Steenbergs for sending me the sample stack to review.