Once in a while salting is not about harmony. Instead it’s about a gentle but jangling discord. Haleakala Ruby is a luscious, warm Hawaiian sea salt that takes its color from the Haleakala volcano’s sacred alaea clay. This is a salt that excels on fish and pork, where it seeks out and then embellishes the opulent undercurrents of flavors lurking in these subtler foods. But it’s also good on fruit. The salt shifts unexpectedly from meadows of sunny butter to coral reefs of revitalizing brine. The less acidic the fruit, the more pronounced the oceanic freshness, as if the salt knows precisely how to respond to the needs of the food. Start with a cantaloupe sweet as honeysuckle, trickle a little balsamic acidity for added complexity, stir in a pinch of fleur de sel to bring the flavors into crystal clarity, then serve with a sprinkle of Haleakala Ruby… This is what it tastes like to have your heart skip a beat.
- 1 pound peeled and seeded cantaloupe chunks, about 3 cups
- 1 cup simple syrup
- 4 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 two-finger pinch fleur de sel
- 4 two-finger pinched Haleakala Ruby sea salt
- Sprinkle the interior cavity of the chicken with a three-finger pinch of sel gris the cracked black pepper. Coat the outside of the chicken with the olive oil and place the chicken breast-side down in a ceramic roasting pan. Squeeze the lemon all over the chicken and put the spent lemon halves inside the chicken cavity.
- Roast for 45 minutes and turn the chicken breast side up. It’s easiest to use large tongs with one arm inserted into the chicken cavity and the other gripping the back of the chicken. Roast for about 20 minutes more, until the skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170ºF.
- Remove the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes before carving. Carve the chicken and arrange in the center of a platter. Remove the lemon halves from the cavity and squeeze any remaining juice over the carved chicken.
- Scatter the remaining tree-finger pinches of sel gris over the chicken and serve with a small bowl of sel gris for the table.