Sel gris is a vehicle for exploring hearty and meaty foods. The name sel gris comes from the French gros sel grisor, which literally translates to “coarse gray salt.” Sel gris is distinguished by its coarse crystals and high moisture content, typically around 13%. This salt is made by raking crystals from the bottom of a crystallizing pan soon after they form, which gives them an irregular yet natural crystal structure. Hefty, moist crystals with a minerally saltiness make this a beautiful finishing salt for steaks, lamb, and root vegetables. It’s also the ultimate salt for pasta water, grilling meats, and can be ground up for baking or used for salt crusts.
A good steak needs sel gris. A great steak needs to be cooked just to medium-rare and flecked with a beautiful gray salt, like Sel Gris de l’Ile de Noirmoutier. While comparable to Sel Gris de Guerande, this finishing salt has a slightly less moisture content, and is almost imperceptibly paler in color. The flavor differences between the Guerande and Noirmoutier are all but impossible to distinguish, though the Noirmoutier is just barely lighter bodied, striking that perfectly crunch on top of grilled steak. Explore the crunchy minerality this gray salt has to offer at your next meal. The moisture levels in this sel gris prevent it from overly dehydrating other ingredients, and the crystal size lends a satisfying crunch to every bite, making it an ideal finishing salt for steak.
Flank Steak with Sel Gris de l’Ile de Noirmoutier & Parsley Pesto
For the steak:
1 lb flank or skirt steak
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Crack of Parameswaran’s pepper
2-finger pinch Sel Gris de l’Ile de Noirmoutier
For the Pesto:
1 bunch of flat leaf Italian parsley
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup of Almazara Luis Herrera Olive Oil
1-finger pinch of Meadow Fleur de Sel
In a large pan or cast iron skillet, heat oil and butter on medium-high heat. Lightly pepper your steak on both sides. Once the pan is hot and the butter is melted, add your steak and let cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until medium-rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes, until cooled slightly. For the pesto, combine parsley, garlic, cheese and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine, then turn to lowest setting and slowly drizzle in olive oil.
To serve, slice the steak against the grain and sprinkle with two-finger pinch of Sel Gris Noirmoutier. Scoop a spoonful of parsley pesto on top or serve on the side, if desired.
Sel Gris de l’Ile de Noirmoutier, Meadow Fleur de Sel, and a selection of other artisan finishing salts can be found at The Meadow’s online shop.