A perfect kitchen is filled with cabinets and shelves where bottles and jars are gathered together containing those special ingredients that flavor the simplest of foods. In the category of cupboard essentials I will write about my favorite combinations of ingredients. The order in which I post notes on this subject will be according to personal preference. Rosemary is predominant in the Italian kitchen and decidedly my favorite herb.
Rosemary salt has a separate and different effect upon foods when combined than when used separately. While requiring a bit of time and effort to pick the leaves carefully from the stems, it keeps its flavor for at least two months. Choose a quiet moment at the kitchen table to make the following essential cupboard ingredient. Double the amount mentioned below if you have time.
- the leaves of 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 40 grams (2 tablespoons) of coarse pink salt from the Himalayas
Pick the leaves of rosemary from the stems with the tips of your fingers, making sure not to pull the brownish end or root of the herb with it. Chop the rosemary leaves with a sharp knife. Mix the rosemary and coarse pink salt in a herb grinder or food processor. If so desired, you may also chop it finely on a cutting board until the salt and the rosemary combine to make a fine, bright green sand. Save the rosemary salt in a glass jar with a lid.
♦ Suggested combinations
Marinate green olives with rosemary salt and mix them with shavings of raw fennel as an appetizer. Sprinkle rosemary salt over ripened vine tomatoes cut in half and baked in the oven one to two hours on parchment paper at 150 degrees celsius. Slice the whites of a few leeks into ribbons and drizzle them with olive oil followed by a sprinkling of rosemary salt. Sauté the leeks until softened and serve them over oven-roasted pumpkin. Sprinkle rosemary salt over boiled potatoes, adding fresh dill and Turkish yoghurt to top the dish off.
Although the salt from the Himalayas is a beautiful pink, you can substitute it for any sea salt, like coarse sea salt from Sardegna or Fleur de sel from France.