Homemade herbal salts
Celtic sea salt tastes like the ocean, is pale green and moist in texture. Himalaya salt is pink in color, has a distinct mineral-like flavor and the grains are very hard. Fleur de sel and Maldon salt are light and flaky. Making herbal salts with them is simple since the salt grains are soft. Experiment with different kinds of salt combined with aromatic herbs, doubling or tripling the recipes below. Herbal salts keep well for months when kept in glass jars with a well-fitted lids.
- 25 grams of rosemary sprigs
- 25 grams of Himalaya salt
Rosemary is most definitely my favorite herb. Much more so than fresh sweet basil, it is also essential in the Italian country kitchen. Pick the rosemary leaves 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 the herbs through the salt on a cutting board until the two ingredients become a fine, bright green sand. Save the rosemary salt in a glass jar with a lid.
- 25 grams of fresh thyme leaves
- 25 grams Himalaya salt or the same amount
Make your own thyme sea salt in the following recipe, or substitute thyme with fresh sage. Pick 25 grams of fresh thyme leaves from their stalks. Save the stalks to make a broth. Mix the thyme with 25 grams of mossy green Celtic sea salt. Pink Himalaya mineral salt is perfect here too. Chop the ingredients on a cutting board until the leaves dissolve into the salt. This simple procedure results in a bright green, earthy aromatic salt that mellows with time.
Red pepper salt
- 100 grams of fresh red chili peppers
- 150 grams of coarse sea salt
Wash the chili peppers and remove the green stems. Slice the peppers into evenly sized rings and toss them through the sea salt. Lay the mixture on a flat baking sheet covered with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 90 °C.
Place the baking tray with ingredients in the oven for two to three hours. The chilies should be dry but not darkened in color. Remove the tray from the oven and let the mixture cool. Grind the salt and peppers with a mortar and pestle or with a food processor until the salt is bright red and grainy, like damp sand.
If the salt is still damp, spread it out evenly on the baking tray and let it dry in the open air overnight. Once dried, pour the salt into a glass jar with a closable lid.
Mixing and matching herbal salts in the kitchen
Use a pinch of rosemary salt to flavor oven-baked sweet potatoes. Sprinkle it on pumpkin and butternut squash with a drizzle olive oil and a sprinkling of cinnamon before baking the orange vegetables in the oven. Add thyme salt to dressings and vinaigrettes or toss them through a rainbow carrot salad. Combine spicy red pepper salt with freshly minced garlic, some olive oil and dried oregano and pour the mixture over oven roasted cauliflower.
This is one of four parts of a special edition entitled “Beautiful Food” inspired by Jennifer Tyler Lee’s book entitled “The 52 New Foods Challenge”.