This Surprising Ingredient Helps Padma Lakshmi Boost the Flavor in Her Dishes

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Padma Lakshmi on a designed background
Photo: Getty Images / Jon Kopaloff

Where there's smoke there's fire—and when it comes to smoked salt, New York Times-bestselling author, Top Chef host and model Padma Lakshmi is on fire in the kitchen.

In an EatingWell Instagram live, Lakshmi—the guest editor of the October issue of EatingWell—took time out from making a Tomato Ricotta Tart to proclaim how Maldon smoked sea salt holds a special place in her heart.

"Lately I'm totally into smoked sea salt by Maldon," she said.

Besides the usual wonderful properties of just the right amount of the right kind of salt in a dish—for example, the kosher salt she used for her Tomato Ricotta Tart not only drew out the excess water in the juicy fruit but also brought out the zing of that quintessential tomato flavor profile—Maldon's smoked sea salt is special enough for Lakshmi to go out of her way to seek out.

And who can blame her? Maldon salt has been prized since it was collected in England when Rome was an empire. Big-flaked but light, Maldon sea salt is beloved by professional chefs for brightening up dishes without going overboard. Their smoked sea salt is in the same vein, almost delicately smoky when other smoked salts tend to be overpowering. Maldon smoked salt gives just the right amount of a whiff of smoke—and you don't have to pull out your smoker to get there.

Maldon Salt, Smoked Sea Salt Flakes, 4.4 oz

maldon smoked sea salt

In case you haven't tried Maldon smoked sea salt yet, here are a few ways we love to use it:

  • Sprinkled over tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
  • Over hot, buttered corn on the cob.
  • In place of regular salt in hearty soups (it's a must over chowders).
  • As finishing salt on a grilled piece of fish or meat.
  • Rim a cocktail glass with it for a tequila or mezcal drink (make sure it's not too smoky a mezcal or it'll overwhelm the Maldon).
  • Sprinkled over peanut butter. (Seriously, try it.)
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