SALT SHAKER

The next time you reach for a salt shaker to season a grilled steak or sauteed fish fillet, think about how much more interesting that food could be if you used something other than plain old table salt.

There’s smoked salt, for example. Salts with various herbs and spices. Even salt with activated charcoal. There are so many different types — and types within types — that the best thing to do is experiment until you find a combination you like.

At Nora’s Wine Bar & Osteria at 1031 S. Rampart Blvd., chef and co-owner Giovanni Mauro — a self-described “salt freak” — said there always are three types of salt on his tables. While they change now and then, right now there’s Malden from Essex in Great Britain; a pink salt from the Murray River in Australia; and Salish, an alderwood-smoked salt from Oregon.

The Malden and Murray River salts both have sort of flaky textures, Mauro said; “the second it touches a liquid, it just melts into the food.”

But the similarity ends there. Mauro said the Malden salt has more of an ocean flavor from the waters of the North Sea, where it’s been harvested naturally for hundreds of years. “The flavor is a little bit more intense on that one because of where it comes from,” he said.

The pink Murray River salt, he said, is sweeter; “I use it for fish and more delicate vegetables.” The red pigment, he said, comes from carotene in algae in the waters where it’s harvested.

The Salish, he said, is perfect for grilled meats, to add a bit of smoky depth.

Morels French Steakhouse and Bistro at the Palazzo offers a pink salt on its tables, too, but it comes from Hawaii and it’s used to coat rolls of butter served with Morels’ bread basket. Managing partner Sal Casola Sr. said the salt comes from rock pools on the island of Kauai; the pools contain iron, which lends the salt its color and its large crystal size.

Morels also offers tableside service of Himalayan salt.

“We get a big chunk of it, and it’s a great pink color,” Casola said, with a mild, slightly sweet flavor. “We come with the grinder to the table and we actually grind the salt for you.”

At one time, the salt service at Morels was even more involved.

“I had a hang up on salt,” Casola said. “We offered at one time three different types of salt,” which the servers would explain at the table. One was most appropriate for tomatoes, he said, the other for meat or fish, determined by the grind.

In the kitchen, Casola said, Morels uses fleur de sel (French sea salt), smoked salt and kosher salt. Mauro said that in his kitchen, he uses only Mediterranean salt from Sicily.

“Most all salts come from the sea at one point,” Mauro said. “The difference is how far they are purified. I like the less-purified ones, the ones with more water content in them as well, because they have more flavors.”

At Vintner Grill, 10100 W. Charleston Blvd., executive chef Matthew Silverman uses several specialty salts, but you won’t find them on the table. That’s because he considers seasoning his job, to be completed before the food reaches the table. Among the salts Silverman uses: truffle, fennel pollen and porcini.

The truffle salt, Silverman said, he’ll use for a dinner entree of steak and eggs — New York steak on potato hash with a sunny-side-up quail egg and a dash of truffle salt on top. The fennel-pollen salt he’ll use on seared scallops “right at the end; it just adds a little licorice flavor.” As for the porcini salt? He uses it on “anything with truffle oil or mushrooms. It just adds a little more complex flavor to the dishes.”

In case you’re a little leery of salt in general, all three maintain that moderation is key.

“People get concerned about the salt, but I find it a really good way to flavor things,” Silverman said. “I try not to put as much (regular) salt in the actual dish and use the flavored salt to flavor the dish.”

“I think a lot of people make a big deal about salt being bad for you,” Mauro said. “I’m a guy who talks about moderation. I’d rather have a smaller portion of something that’s well salted, rather than have a big huge portion of something that’s bland.

“The second you realize that food just doesn’t taste the same if it’s not properly salted is the second you become a salt fanatic.”

Mauro suggests taking a perfect ripe tomato and sprinkling its quadrants with different types of salt.

“Taste the difference,” he said. “It’s mind-boggling how different it is.

“The second you use one type of salt vs. another and it changes your experience with food, you become a salt fanatic.”

Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474.

Entertainment Videos
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of theatre talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N interactive exhibit
The new exhibit features original and recreated props and plenty of interactive features. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas ice cream shop offers everything in the kitchen sink
Have you ever wanted to eat an ice cream sundae out of a kitchen sink? Who hasn't, right? At Sloan's, located inside the Venetian, you can do just that. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Maxie’s in Las Vegas puts eggs Benedict in a box
Chef David Mangual at Maxie’s in The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas makes his eggs Benedict in a brioche “box” layered with spinach, bacon and tomatoes and topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caviar Twinkie Served at Stripsteak in Las Vegas
Stripsteak Executive Pastry Chef Vivian Chang and Chef Gerald Chin create a novel savory food item that looks like a familiar sweet treat at the restaurant in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
NAB attendees battle to qualify for Fortnite event
NAB is sponsoring an online video game event with Epic Games’ Fortnite allowing attendees to qualify to go head to head with top players. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Arctic Shrimp Sandwich at Saga near Las Vegas
Chef Gert Kvalsund, a native of Norway, founded Saga Pastry + Sandwich in Henderson to give Scandinavians a taste of home. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk UNLVino
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk about the upcoming UNLVino vent. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Christie Brinkley at Smith & Wollensky
Christie Brinkley, in town for her run in “Chicago” at the Venetian Theatre, paid a visit to the Grand Canal Shoppes’ still-under-construction Smith Wollensky on Monday for a ceremonial first toast at the bar. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Two artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas
2 artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside Kaos nightclub and dayclub
A look at new club at Palms.
CinemaCon Brings Theater Professionals To Caesars
CinemaCon is not just celebs, it's also a place where theater owners can browse the latest in seats, projectors and concessions. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas restaurants provide a taste of ballpark food
The Las Vegas Ballpark, home to the Las Vegas Aviators, will serve food from Giada De Laurentiis and a team of favorite local restaurants. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Taste of the Town: Bobby Flay Opens Shark at the Palms - VIDEO
Bobby Flay opens Shark at the Palms; his first high-end restaurant in 15 years.
Chef Marc Marrone at T-Mobile Arena
Chef Marc Marrone has opened a bao cart at T-Mobile Arena. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio fountains celebrate 'Game of Thrones'
A medley of the theme for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the song “Winter Is Here” from the show premiered at the Bellagio Fountains water show on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, March 31, 2019. The new number will run in rotation through April 13. The series premieres its eighth and final series on April 14. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegan Aunt Chippy talks about being on Jimmy Kimmel's show
Concetta Potenza, Aunt “Chippy” to Jimmy Kimmel, talks about her first time being featured on her nephew’s show. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro at Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro At Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cotton candy crowns pancakes in Las Vegas
At Maxie’s at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, executive chef David Mangual fills pancakes with fruit and cream cheese and piles on pastel cotton candy, which is melted in a stream of chocolate syrup. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Bananas Foster Pancakes go up in flames at The Stove near Las Vegas
Chef Antonio Nunez at The Stove in Henderson, near Las Vegas, flames the pancakes tableside for a fiery presentation. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
El Loco Rollercoaster at Circus Circus' Adventuredome
The El Loco rollercoaster opened at the Circus Circus' Adventuredome in February 2014. It features a 90-foot ascent, followed by a drop that produces a negative 1.5 "verticle G," a 180-degree turn, and reverse 240-degree roll that turns into an inverted drop. The coaster reaches a maximum speed of 45 mph and is the only indoor coaster of it's kind in the U.S., and is the second indoor El Loco coaster in the world, according to MGM Resorts.
Bartending flair competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show
Highlights from the ten contestants who competed for the Shake It Up Flair and Classic Competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Justin Kingsley Hall shares details on his next gig
Chef Justin Kinglsey hall shares some details about the newArts District restaurant he's developing with Kim Owens. (Al Mancini/Las Vegs Review-Journal)
Film prompted Carrie Hogan to found 2 farmers markets in Las Vegas
Carrie Hogan founded Fresh 52 Farmers and Artisan Market in Las Vegas after realizing she had to do something about the influence of factory farms on the food supply. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Seafood dishes being made at Pasta Shop near Las Vegas
Executive chef Edwin Martinez incorporates fresh pasta into Lobster Salmon and Saffron Shrimp Sauté at Pasta Shop Ristorante & Art Gallery in Henderson, near Las Vegas. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Andrew Carmean will be the only local participant in upcoming demolition derby
Andrew Carmean, a demolition driver, will be the only local participant in upcoming derby at the Plaza Hotel. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masso Osteria first anniversary in Las Vegas
Scott Conant was in town Tuesday to host a one-year anniversary party for his Red Rock Resort restaurant Masso Osteria.
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing