Filed under: Dining
In the world of sea salt, the earliest known sea salt produced by the Japanese may be the rarest of all. Called Amabito No Moshio ("Ancient Sea Salt"), unpolluted sea water is collected from the Seto-uchi inland sea, infused with seaweed to develop the "unami", and then processed by cooking in an iron kettle, put into a centrifuge, and finally, cooked over an open fire while stirring constantly. The salt is worth over $40 per pound.
The island where most of this salt is produced is called Kami-Kamagari, and has a population of less than 3,000. Archaeological digging has uncovered salt-making pots dating from the 2nd or 3rd century AD -- a find which, in 1998, encouraged the locals to take up the production of this ancient sea salt, again. Salt expert Mark Bittman says the flavor is "savory" and "unctuous" and suggests it on meats, rice, roasted potatoes, even a chocolate souffle!