Saturday, July 11, 2009

Making Seasoned Salts

Seasoned sea salts are a simple pantry item that can absolutely transform a dish. I use mine on roasted meats and veggies, sprinkled on scrambled eggs, and to rim glasses -- really you can use them on most things (farmers markets often showcase them on fresh heirloom tomatoes). They sell for around $15 at my local grocery store, but are extremely cheap to make yourself. And we learned in class that they are also very easy to make. So before you consider shelling out money for a fancy little packet, check out how to make a big batch at home. They also make beautiful party favors, holiday gifts, etc.

In my research I came across a posting from Mark Bittman of the NY Times on making sea salts that provides additional ideas you may want to check out. I notice he doesn't oven dry his, but I expect doing so preserves the herbs and other additions so that your salt keeps better.

Seasoned Sea Salt

1 cup good quality sea salt (make sure you use sea salt and not simple table salt. sea salt has minerals and better flavor. plus table salt can actually leech minerals from your body)
At least 1/4 cup fresh herbs, washed and thoroughly dried, then rough chopped (Any mix you'd like. Rosemary, parsley, thyme, oregano, lavender, etc...)
Other additions (a garlic clove or two and citrus zest work well)

1. Preheat oven to 100F.
2. In a food processor, add all ingredients and process until well combined (herbs should be small specks of color). It is essential that herbs are completely dry before doing this. You can wash them approx. a day ahead, spin dry or pat with towel, and then leave out to dry completely until use.
3. Spread salt on a baking sheet in a thin layer (use multiple baking sheets depending on amount). Place in oven and bake approx. 45 minutes. (If you have a food dehydrator, you can use that instead of the oven).
4. Cool before packaging. Clumps may form. If you want to ensure even texture you can run the salt in the food processor again once oven-dried.

Note: We made rosemary and garlic salt with lemon zest. For our batch, we halved the recipe, used one clove of garlic and the zest of one lemon (to give a sense of proportion).

No comments:

Post a Comment