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A Dash Of Salt Is All You Need To Give PB&J A Total Flavor Upgrade

peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wooden table
peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wooden table - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Is there anything more classic than a good ol' peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Nutty, creamy, and delightfully simple with the perfect amount of bite, this brown bag lunch favorite — whose base recipe first appeared in publications in 1901 — is the quintessential American snack. Its long history as America's go-to casual sandwich lends itself to decades of the culinary public's accumulated tips, tricks, and preferences, from preferred peanut butter-to-jelly ratios to enthusiastic bread partiality — from basic white to honey wheat to thick, sweet slices of brioche.

But whether you swear by grape jelly to complete your sandwich or you're fervently on team strawberry jam, whether you prefer a healthy slathering of peanut butter or jelly is the headliner in your handheld snack, the divine pairing of peanut butter and jelly is a trusty base for a myriad of delicious flavor upgrades. In fact, there's a secret ingredient to take your basic PB&J up a notch, transforming the casual sandwich into an elevated culinary experience with a more upscale mouthfeel: salt. Yes, due to its ability to cut through richness and balance sweetness, a sprinkle of flaky sea salt will have a brightening effect on the taste, enhancing the texture and flavor profile to result in a delicious PB&J that's anything but basic.

Read more: The 18 Unhealthiest Store-Bought Sliced Breads You Can Buy

Achieving The Perfect Flavor Balance

spoonful of sea salt over plate of salt
spoonful of sea salt over plate of salt - Nerza/Shutterstock

The first step in using flaky sea salt to enhance the flavor of your PB&J is choosing the right peanut butter: creamy or crunchy. The creamy variety tends to be sweeter, and will be enhanced by the sea salt. However, with the crunchier variation, there's a risk of the sea salt overwhelming the already savory condiment. If you're uncertain about which brand to choose, Daily Meal provides an ultimate ranking of peanut butters to help you select the best option for your needs.

Equally important is selecting your jam wisely — your jam should have enough flavor to be used lightly, such as raspberry or mixed berry jam, as you want your fruit to complement your peanut butter without overpowering it. Then, toast one side of your bread slices and spread your toppings on those heated sides. This adds texture, prevents pesky jam leaks, and keeps your bread from getting soggy.

When you're ready to add your peanut butter, it's crucial to spread it on both slices of bread, with a layer of jelly in the middle, to keep the moisture from your jam from having direct contact with the bread, which can also create mushiness. Then, simply sprinkle some flaky sea salt (about 1/8 teaspoon or more to taste) on one of the slices before closing your sandwich. The sea salt will enhance the flavor of the peanut butter and balance out the sweetness of the jelly, delivering a gourmet-tasting variation on a classic sammie.

Other Ways To Elevate Your PB&J

person pouring balsamic vinegar in spoon
person pouring balsamic vinegar in spoon - Gua/Shutterstock

There is a wide variety of delicious flavor pairings that can enhance the salty, nutty, and fruity flavors of your peanut butter and jelly sandwich. To accentuate the added sea salt, cook about three slices of bacon until extra crispy, and layer the slices into your sandwich for an additional dose of salt that beautifully balances the sweetness of your jelly. If you're looking to elevate the basic creamy essence further, drizzle some balsamic vinegar atop your peanut butter before closing your sandwich. Balsamic vinegar, often paired with peanut in sauces for pork and chicken, provides a spicy addition of acidity, and gives your sandwich a stronger hint of savoriness.

Alternatively, for a sweeter pairing, sprinkle some chocolate chips atop your peanut butter. The combination of peanut butter and chocolate is a decadent dessert pairing, but with the added fruit element of your jam, it becomes divine. For this variation, strawberry jam typically works best, as chocolate and strawberries pair well together. Feel free to add some marshmallow spread for a tasty s'mores-inspired texture upgrade.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.