The Crunchy Salt Jamie Oliver Can't Go Without

While it's easy to assume salt is just "salty," there are different types of salt featuring a wide variety of production methods, textures, and even flavors. You already experience several forms of salt in commonplace foods. For example, table salt is used for seasoning food, kosher salt is for cooking, coarse salt is used on pretzels, and food-grade rock salt is used to keep meat and seafood moist while cooking or for encrusting it (per Spiceography). Sea salt is made from evaporated ocean water, while Himalayan salt and many other varieties are mined.

According to America's Test Kitchen, humans have been producing and procuring salt for thousands of years. Whether you're brining, salting a recipe, or finishing a beautiful steak, salt is as necessary to cooking as it is to one's health. According to Healthline, salt provides dietary sodium, enhances flavors, aids in preservation, and can elevate a dish's texture and appearance. The spice is surely worth its salt, but it's far from just a sprinkled-on seasoning. One form of salt you might not have heard of is a pantry staple for celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver — prized for its special texture and appearance. Here's why you should get a box.

Jamie Oliver loves Maldon salt

Fine Dining Lovers reveals that Jamie Oliver loves to use a product called Maldon Sea Salt Flakes. Per Supermarket Italy, Oliver is known for using it as an ingredient in his recipes as a finishing salt. A Facebook post by Maldon Sea Salt shares that the celebrity chef adds Maldon salt to his epic hot chocolate

Purportedly called the "Diamond of the Salt Industry" (via Grazia), Maldon sea salt comes from Maldon, England, and is made in small batches by the Osborne family much the same way as it was in 1882, according to the brand's website. Maldon sea salt is famed for its flattened pyramid-shaped flakes, which offer a bright salinity that can be used any time during cooking. The flakes themselves are thin enough to dissolve in food but crunchy when sprinkled on finished dishes. But Maldon is not the only company making flake salt. Cargill explains that it's usually made by using machines to compress ordinary cube-shaped salt granules into pyramids — with increased surface area and lower density, they have different culinary uses than their cube-crystallized counterparts.

Why and how to use Maldon sea salt

The Maldon Salt website proclaims that its salt is internationally renowned and that chefs often first encounter it while they're learning to cook before adopting it as a must-have ingredient. Cargill explains that flake salt allows for more precision during seasoning due to its crushable, "pinchable" texture, making it home-cook (and kid) friendly. Madron Salt's Padron Peppers recipe demonstrates how beautifully the pyramidal flakes adorn simple vegetable dishes. The flakes add a delicate crunch to recipes like Jamie Oliver's oven-baked fat chips with rosemary salt.

You can top your eggs, veggies, meats, and even fruit dishes with this flaky salt, too. Grazia recommends Maldon's smoked salt flakes on meat and shellfish, like in a spice-crusted salmon dish for textural variation. Libby Silbermann, Maldon's food stylist and recipe creator who studied with Jamie Oliver's food team, told the company that she likes the sea salt flakes atop fresh tomatoes, buttered toast, and even sprinkled on dark chocolate cookies and brownies. It might even fix a disappointing cup of joe. Maldon flakes grant salting superpowers to the food lover, and they reveal how salt can be more than just a basic seasoning. Let it work its magic in your cooking.