Curiosidades

Te descubrimos seis tipos de sal y cómo usarlas en la cocina

La sal quizás sea el condimento más antiguo del que tenemos conocimiento o referencia. Es un elemento básico en la gastronomía mundial (no solo en la nuestra) y saber cómo utilizarlo es algo más complejo de lo que nos creemos, pues es la culpable de que aumente o disminuya la capacidad de otros sentidos, como el olfato, para apreciar el gusto de los alimentos. Muchas veces, más que usarla en en la cocina, abusamos de ella.

La sal tiene sus orígenes en la época del emperador Huanghi en China, casi 3.000 a.C., pues allí era muy común que el agua de los lagos se evaporara (lagos salados) y dejase a sus habitantes recolectar los pequeños cristales de sal. Sin embargo, unos cuantos cientos de años antes ya encontramos referencias en el Antiguo Egipto de momias preservadas con arenas salinas provenientes del río Nilo. Lo que no sabemos es si ellos le daban ya un uso gastronómico como los asiáticos o no. Sea como fuere, la verdad es que se producen 300 millones de toneladas de sal al año en el mundo, convirtiéndola en el condimento más utilizado en la cocina.

La sal es, en realidad, una roca comestible formada por pequeños cristales de cloruro de sodio que, más tarde, son procesados de una manera u otra. El 50% de la sal que comemos proviene del mar, pero la otra mitad se extrae de las minas. Por eso, hay diferentes tipos de sal, con propiedades muy distintas, sabores, aromas y hasta colores que hemos querido resumir en la siguiente guía, para que sepas diferenciarlas y usarlas correctamente en tus recetas.

SAL COMÚN

tipos-sal-gourmet-comun

Es la sal que está presente en la mayoría de nuestras cocinas. Es nuestro condimento base. Se extrae de minas y depósitos de sal, pasa por un proceso de refinado para eliminar impurezas y se le suelen añadir antiaglomerantes para evitar que se apelmace y se endurezca.

¿En qué platos podemos emplearla? En realidad, en todos, pues es la más versátil de todas, pero nosotros la limitaríamos a los guisos, sopas y salsas, que potencien su sabor, pero que no los enmascare.

SAL NEGRA

tipos-sal-gourmet-negra

La sal negra cristaliza bajo el sol y tiene un componente añadido: el carbono activo, causante de, no solo su color, sino también de su textura sedosa y de su sabor. Además, le confiere ciertas propiedades beneficiosas para nuestro organismo, sobre todo, ayudándonos con los procesos digestivos. No está refinada, procede de la India y tiene cierto sabor sulfuroso, debido a los compuestos de azufre que contiene.

¿En qué platos podemos usarla? Con platos que lleven huevos, patatas o, por ejemplo, espolvoreada sobre un carpaccio.

SAL DEL HIMALAYA

tipos-sal-gourmet-himalaya

Es una de las sales más de moda, de consistencia dura, con granos gruesos y un bonito color rosa. Su origen está en Pakistán y tiene una alta cantidad de minerales, lo que le atribuye supuestos beneficios para la salud. El 98% de su contenido sí que es cloruro de sodio, pero el porcentaje restante son otros minerales como el potasio, el magnesio, calcio y fósforo.

¿En qué platos podemos usarla? Como último paso antes de presentar un plato ya cocinado (un aperitivo, por ejemplo) y, sobre todo, con carnes y pescados a la parrilla.

FLORES DE SAL

tipos-sal-gourmet-flores

Es la sal gourmet por excelencia, también es la más cara de ellas, ya que todo lo que la rodea lleva la palabra artesanal: se extrae de manera manual de la capa superior de los bancos de sal en salinas ecológicas con aguas muy puras. No pasa por ningún proceso industrial y la más famosa la tenemos nosotros en Huelva, Cádiz, Cabo de Gata, Baleares y el Delta del Ebro. Tiene un sabor ligeramente picante por su contenido en magnesio y, antes de romperse, tiene forma de flor (de ahí, su nombre).

Podemos compararla (salvando las distancias) con la sal Maldón, otro nombre que solemos ver en los estantes de los supermercados. Lo único que ésta se extrae en el estuario del río Blackwater en Inglaterra, pero su proceso es igualmente laborioso, tiene forma de escamas y su textura es, como la flor de sal, muy crujiente.

¿En qué platos podemos usarla? Se utiliza, sobre todo, para potenciar sabores y decorar los platos. Es perfecta para espolvorear sobre platos de verduras y pescados. Eso sí, al final, que no se funda con los jugos del alimento y utilízala en menor cantidad.

SAL AZUL

tipos-sal-gourmet-azul

La sal azul es una de las más desconocidas y, a diferencia de la sal que se extrae del mar y de las salinas, esta sal que nace en Irán (es conocida como sal azul de Persiaes una sal fósil, es decir, son cristales formados en las rocas bajo el mar desde hace 100 millones de años y que se formó por la evaporación de los antiguos lagos y mares interiores de la zona. Se extrae de las montañas de Semnan, al norte del país, y su color azul es debido a un mineral llamado silvinita que no tienen otras sales.

¿En qué platos podemos usarla? Se trata de una sal muy seca y con cierta acidez, con notas que nos recuerdan casi al limón, por eso combina muy bien con platos de pescados y, por qué no, en algún postre.

SAL AHUMADA

tipos-sal-gourmet-ahumada

Es un tipo de sal algo desconocida en nuestro país, pero en algunas cocinas del mundo es bastante utilizada, como la norteamericana, y sigue diferentes procesos de elaboración: o bien se recubre con aceite de aromas ahumados o bien se mezcla con un saborizante de humo. En Indonesia, por ejemplo, se hace con humo de coco y lima. El tamaño de su grano es bastante grande, suele molerse después y, como su propio nombre nos dice, tiene un fuerte aroma ahumado.

¿En qué platos podemos usarla? Se utiliza, sobre todo, en platos de carne a la parrilla o pescados, sobre todo, con salmón. Pero queda también deliciosa con un aperitivo a base de patés o una escalivada de entrantes, por ejemplo. Y, si te gusta cierto toque ahumado, un plato de pasta.

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