Thursday, August 19, 2010
Using and Preserving Herbs: Herbal Salt
Some might say it almost doesn’t warrant a blog post.
And yet… for me, herbed salt was somewhat of a life-changing discovery.
A sprinkling of rosemary salt transformed a simple plate of grilled spring asparagus into something quite remarkable. It elevated a humble piece of white fish to an entirely new level. It made roasted breakfast potatoes into a treat. And it promoted a humble roasted green bean into something else entirely.
And rosemary salt was only the beginning. There was also the basil salt which brought new life to the last of the summer tomatoes, the mint salt that paired so swimmingly with slices of vodka-soaked watermelon. And the lavender and thyme salt that seasoned many a roasted chicken during the darkest months of winter.
The best part is how easy herbed salt is to make.
It takes virtually no preparation, aside from carefully washing and drying your herbs. And the only equipment you need is an ordinary coffee grinder... or a mortar and pestle, if you're willing to put a little bit of muscle into the process.
We like to use a coarse-grained sea salt -- which contains less sodium than refined table salt, as well as a plethora of trace minerals, including iron, sulfur, and magnesium. Our favorite brand happens to be coarse-ground Real Salt -- which is made from mined rock salt, which means it hasn't been exposed to a kiln-drying process that robs salt of its beneficial properties.
We usually make our herbal salt as needed, but even the freshly ground salt keeps for a few days if stored in an airtight jar. That said, you can also prepare herbal salt for extended storage by drying it in the oven (see instructions below).
If you're particularly inspired, we suggest making large batches of dried herbal salt, packaging them in attractive bottles (you can buy bottles here), tying them with a bit of ribbon, and giving them as gifts. Pair a few bottles of herbal salt with a jar of mixed peppercorns or a selection of recipes using herbal salts.
Crispy roasted green beans with rosemary salt
Alright – your turn.
How will you use your next batch of herbed salt?
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