A great yet simple snack: avocado, olive oil, salt.
Today’s experiment asks the question: does the type of salt one sprinkles on the avocado make a difference? If so, which is best?
Before we show the results, some words on salt:
Using salt seems so simple. Yet, for those of us trying to open our mind to a more flavorful experience while eating, salt is anything but simple. It’s also supremely important while cooking; subtle differences in the use/type of salt have ruined many dishes for me. Michael Ruhlman says in his book Ruhlman’s Twenty calls salt “your most important tool.” His recommended go-to-salt is…
…Kosher salt. It’s coarse, which helps with texture as well as easy measuring. There are no preservatives.
Table salt is very fine and what we are used to seeing on our kitchen tables and restaurants. This contains an anti-caking agent and dissolves faster in water.
Sea salt is rockier, simply from evaporated sea water. Depending on where in the world the sea water comes from, this rock salt can have different colors or flavors.
The Food Network’s website has a pretty-OK blurb on the differences between salts.
For today’s experiment I tested out four basic salts that I have … Yes. I have four “basic” types of salt I use.
I am NOT counting the many seasoned salts I have, or that black smoked rock salt, or the African flavored salt. And not my rubs. Nor my Hawaii Red. Nor my Celtic Grey. No no no…not any of those…
Listen, overnight I became a salt snob. I’m not really sure how that happened, but it did. I do not apologize.
The salts I tested today: table, Kosher, Sea Salt and Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (a specific type of sea salt that is ground up crystals…you can get this at any Trader Joe’s).
I simply took some fresh avocados, cubed up one half, and drizzled 1/2 tablespoon of EVOO on top. Then I sprinkled 1/8 teaspoon of the salt over the food. Very simple.
My girlfriend helped taste test (she tested blind, but I knew which was which).
I was pleasantly surprised that my girlfriend and I had the same opinions.
The table salt was just WAY too salty, at least 1/8 teaspoon for half an avocado. It makes sense that there is more table salt crystals than bigger, coarser crystals when using equal volume (that is why fancy – read: better – cooks measure in weight instead of volume). For the purposes of this experiment, though, this avocado was the least pleasurable.
The sea salt, the biggest of the crystals, were actually too powerful for the avocado. Because these crystals were so big, there were fewer. However, each crystal itself was so strong that while the crunch was good, it was too salty. No good.
That left a close tie between the Kosher salt and Pink Himalayan salt. The GF found both of them equally good. I favored the Pink salt, mostly because Himalayan salt is bad ass! Seriously, I have a real Pink Salt lamp in my room. I warned you: I like salt more than is considered healthy.
Kosher and Pink Himalayan salt were the most pleasant tasting and feeling on avocados with olive oil. I recommend taking some between your fingers and sprinkling a bit on first before you add more. It’s a wonderful snack and the salt really does a great job bringing out the flavor (as salt usually does), and the coarser salt gives it a nice crunch.
Something I need to look into…the sea salt crystals were HUGE, and they just seemed so out of place on the avocado. I’m wondering a) what is the best use of these huge rocks and b) maybe they are only for grinding? I’ll get back to you.
How would I test this differently in the future?
Obviously do a blind test with more individuals.
I would also see if a smaller amount of table/sea salt has a more comparable taste to the 1/8 teaspoon Kosher/Pink salt.
I would also like to test sprinkling different seasonings (garlic power, cayenne, sugar(!) paprika, the list is endless).
What is your favorite thing to sprinkle on avocados?