The Maldon Alternative Melissa Clark Loves To Use For Finishing Dishes

Back in 2020, cookbook author Melissa Clark showed NYT Cooking that her pantry is stocked with a wide variety of purpose-designated salts, including the French sel gris, fine sea salt for baking, the Diamond Crystal kosher salt she uses to test recipes, pink salt, cheese salt, Maldon smoked salt, Celtic sea salt, Hawaiian red salt, black pepper salt, vanilla salt, black salt for egg salads, Himalayan pink salt, and Maldon sea salt. Even the camera crew was impressed.

To finish dishes, however, Clark reveals that she reaches for Jacobsen salt, a salt she explains is similar to Maldon but delivers irregularly-shaped flakes that are even bigger and crunchier in size. Maldon is loved by chefs around the world for good reason, but for Clark, the seasoning can be swapped, particularly when a recipe calls for a sprinkle of textured salt to finish a dish or to provide a visually appealing garnish.

Amplify dishes with ease

Maldon salt was awarded the Royal Warrant by the late Queen Elizabeth and has become a staple in kitchens in and outside of the U.K., but just because an ingredient is tried-and-true doesn't mean it should become the default go-to. Finishing our fleur de sel chocolate cookies recipe with thick, crunchy flakes of the Jacobsen brand salt can bring a satisfying bite to sweet treats, and the flakey variety can bring elegance and salinity to grilled vegetables, a plate of eggs, or steaks taken hot off the grill. 

Jacobsen salt hails from Oregon's coast, and the crunchy salt is harvested, dehydrated, and sorted into categories of flake salt (for the larger, pyramid-shaped pieces) or kosher salt (for the smaller, coarser crystals). Whether you're finishing a classic pecan pie or are looking to bring a briny finish to the shrimp and scallop scampi you plan to serve for dinner, a quick sprinkle of Jacobsen's finishing salt can introduce a bright and briny texture to a variety of dishes.