December 19: Fleur de Sel

sel

Let’s face it, I am not a sweet person. Salty is more my style. I guess I’m just a savory kind of gal.

There are certain basics in my kitchen that I can not be without, and fleur de sel is on that short list.

fleur de sel

You may be wondering, what in the heck is fleur de sel? It’s a hand harvested sea salt, harvested off the coast of Brittany. Offering a complex flavor, this moist salt ranks among the most expensive due to its scarcity and labor intensive harvesting process.

Fleur de sel has many uses, and as a finish for caramel or chocolate is my favorite. I absolutely love salted caramels!

candy

We went to Branson for Fall Break this year, and I picked up a dark chocolate covered caramel topped with sea salt while at Silver Dollar City. It was so good, when we went back the next day I bought several more. When I got home and quickly finished the last of them off, I started plotting in my brain how I could “hop” up there, run in and buy more, and make it home before anyone noticed I was missing. But with a 5+ hour drive one way, that wasn’t going to happen.

Keith surprised me at Thanksgiving. His cousin was in Branson in November, and Keith sent him with $100 to buy more for me. Apparently no one at Silver Dollar City has ever bought that much of one chocolate there before. He drew a crowd and cleaned them out. I now have a huge bag…and I’m not sharing!caramel

Two of my favorite caramel recipes using the fleur de sel are both from Ina Garten (no surprise there!)

Both of these recipes are out of this world

caramelThe Salted Caramel Brownies call for a flaked sea salt, but I like to use my fleur de sel. For this recipe to be successful you must use a good caramel sauce, and you’re not going to find that at the grocery store. I ordered the Fran’s brand as she suggested and it was great. I do not recommend ordering anything but the caramel sauce from Fran’s though. I tried their salted dark chocolate caramels and they were TINY, extremely expensive and the caramel tasted bitter. ICK.

One of my very favorite things to make for dinner is beef tenderloin crusted with fleur de sel and cracked pepper. I know, it is rough living at my house! This is incredibly quick and easy to make. Just a bit pricy, but eating well isn’t a cheap thing to do.

Mason has named this dish Spicy Meat. Here’s how you do it.

Spicy Meat

pepperBuy beef tenderloin (aka filet mignon), approximately 2″ thick. I’ve been getting it at Sam’s at a relatively good price.  Pat the meat dry with paper towels and brush lightly with olive oil.

On a plate or shallow bowl mix together 2-3 tablespoons of fleur de sel with 2-3 tablespoons of cracked pepper. It can be fresh cracked, or I like to buy the salad grind pepper. It’s easier on the arm.

Heat a heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven on medium high heat, then sear the meat on all sides. This will only take a few minutes per side. Take the pan off the stove, top the filets with a pat of butter (never margarine!), then bake in a 400º oven for 12-15 minutes. How long you bake will depend on how thick your steaks are, and how well you like your meat done.

It is absolutely delicious! We eat this on a regular basis at my house for dinner, yet it is wonderful enough to serve for a special meal. I personally think it is a crime against tenderloin to put it on a grill. I present beef tenderloin in a variety of ways, always in the oven and never on the grill. Don’t treat your tenderloin as if it were a sirloin!

Today I’m sharing my love of fleur de sel with you, and am giving away a package of this divine “flower of salt”.

Simply state whether you’re salty or sweet, or perhaps both. I’ll randomly pick one winner.

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “December 19: Fleur de Sel

  1. I land solidly on the “sweet” side of the spectrum, but with just enough salt to keep me from being cloying – I hope!

  2. I’m definitely sweet but if you like dark chocolate covered caramels with sea salt (which is my favorit candy), try the ones sold in Aldi’s. It is their ‘Specially Selected’ brand and are sold in a clear square plastic container weighing ten ounces. I was leery at first since they are only $2.99 but I thought they were just as good as what I’ve had from candy stores selling at $6.99 and up per pound. About 14 pieces in the container. You can actually read and pronounce the ingredients listed, no scientific names of a bunch of chemicals. Also made in the USA.

  3. I’m definitely BOTH!
    I definitely have to try this, though I might go with the brownies version first. Not sure I could share the caramels. 😉

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