Once in a while salting is not about harmony. Instead it’s about a gentle but jangling discord. Haleakala Ruby is a luscious, warm Hawaiian sea salt that takes its color from the Haleakala volcano’s sacred alaea clay. This is a salt that excels on fish and pork, where it seeks out and then embellishes the opulent undercurrents of flavors lurking in these subtler foods. But it’s also good on fruit. The salt shifts unexpectedly from meadows of sunny butter to coral reefs of revitalizing brine. The less acidic the fruit, the more pronounced the oceanic freshness, as if the salt knows precisely how to respond to the needs of the food. Start with a cantaloupe sweet as honeysuckle, trickle a little balsamic acidity for added complexity, stir in a pinch of fleur de sel to bring the flavors into crystal clarity, then serve with a sprinkle of Haleakala Ruby… This is what it tastes like to have your heart skip a beat.
Makes 1 quart
1 pound peeled and seeded cantaloupe chunks, about 3 cups<
1 cup simple syrup (see recipe)
4 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1 two-finger pinch fleur de sel
4 two-finger pinched Haleakala Ruby sea salt
To make simple syrup, combine 1 cup sugar into 1 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved. (This will make a little more than 1 cup simple syrup, so measure the called-for amount.) Allow to cool before using. Puree the melon, simple syrup, and vinegar in a blender on high speed until completely smooth. Stir in the fleur de sel and freeze in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions, or pour into a shallow baking dish and freeze until solid. Cut into cubes and puree in batches in a food processor until smooth and thick. Freeze to finish firming, about 30 minutes.
Serve scoops in chilled glasses, topping each with a thrifty pinch of Haleakala sea salt.