Kosher Salt: The Chefs' Seasoning
Chefs know that judicious use of salt is essential to bring certain flavors to life. Almost all professional chefs, except those creating dishes for people with specific medical conditions, use some amount of salt in their cooking. In finer restaurants, the salt of choice in the kitchen is seldom the fine powdered table salt most home cooks are familiar with. Instead, they use either complex-tasting crystal sea salt or coarse, flaky white salt known as “kosher” salt. It is so-named because it is the type used for certain processes involved in the Jewish dietary laws of “kashrus.” It is available at most supermarkets.
The advantage of the large crystalline flakes characteristic of kosher salt is in ease of control. Properly seasoned food should taste full-flavored, but not salty (except in the case of certain foods like pretzels, where it's desired). While seasoning is a must for full flavor, the degree of seasoning required is a matter of taste — up to the cook's palate. Kosher salt has less “saltiness” by volume than ordinary table salt. That means a pinch of kosher salt is milder than an equal pinch of table salt, giving the cook a chance to taste and season gradually.
Some people have told me they “don't cook with salt.” I conclude that their food is either unbearably bland, or seasoned with copious amounts of other condiments containing lots of salt. One friend, for example, uses soy sauce (a lot of salt) on almost everything, believing that somehow this is “healthier.” It's not. It just makes everything taste like soy sauce. Unless you've been diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) or heart disease, or have been recommended a low sodium diet by your doctor for some other reason, there's no reason to fear a little salt here and there.