Ina Says THIS Is The Single Most-Important Ingredient

Find out how she uses it to make her favorite cookies of all time.

Ina Garten with Farro Tabbouleh and Feta, as seen on Barefoot Contessa: Back to the Basics, Season 15.

Photo by: PACIFIC TV


In the next episode of Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro, Ina makes a bold statement about salt, saying, “It's the single most important ingredient in cooking.” She explains how she uses three different kinds in a variety of savory and sweet dishes, but there is one that she never uses.

Ina isn't a fan of iodized salt, the fine grained one that most of us have on our table in the little shaker. "It actually has chemicals in it to keep it free-flowing. And it's really harsh,” she says. Instead she uses kosher salt because “it's softer, and it's great for cooking and baking ... I use it in recipes, and I also use it to sprinkle over at the end to make the flavors really pop.”

Ina also uses two kinds of sea salt, depending on the dish. She uses flaked sea salt when she’s looking to add a little texture. “I use this to finish dishes where you want to see the salt .... on zucchini sticks, a pot pie or salted-caramel brownies and have a little crunch when you eat it.” She uses fleur de sel as a finishing salt for savory things like Tuscan roasted potatoes and sweet dishes like panna cotta and homemade caramels.

She also sprinkles fleur de sel on her Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies, aka, her favorite cookies of all time. “There's salt in the cookies -- kosher salt,” says Ina, “which makes the ingredients like the chocolate and the oatmeal taste better. But that little hit of fleur de sel at the end just really makes the cookies delicious.” And remember, she says, “You can be miserable before you eat a cookie and you can be miserable after, but never while you’re eating a cookie.” Feel free to go test this theory.

Watch new episodes of Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro Sundays at 12:30|11:30c.


Next Up

Ina’s Favorite Flavor of All Time: The Good Vanilla

And why you really don’t want to know what the imitation stuff is made of.

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