Hello Stranger | Login | Create Account
 
 
 
 
 
  SAUCE MAGAZINE
|
Dec 14, 2017
|
Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
|
SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
Features
Print | Text-size: A | A | A
Salt Spectrum
By Julie Cohen | Photos by Greg Rannells
Posted On: 04/01/2013   


When it comes to adding that final flourish to a meal, chefs love to grab a pinch of fleur de sel, a fragile crust of salt crystals that’s hand-harvested from French ponds and smells of violets and ocean breezes. And when they’re not in a Madame Bovary kind of mood? They have red alae crystals, black lava salt, even the pink granules from Australia’s Murray River at their fingertips.

Finishing salts can quickly add a pop of color, flavor and texture to almost any dish. The problem? These posh garnishes can be limiting for home cooks, both in taste and budget. Sometimes a splash of ocean air isn’t what that gorgeous filet needs – but rather a nose of red wine, the punch of ginger or a spicy jolt from Korean hot pepper paste.

With time, creativity and a little muscle, you can transform household salts into fancy finishers that will leave your guests impressed and your pantry well stocked with an arsenal of refined flavor.




ROASTED GARLIC-ADOBO SALT
Approximately 1¼ cups


Chop the tops from 2 garlic bulbs, and rub olive oil over the exposed cloves. Wrap the bulbs in foil, then roast them in a 400-degree oven until they turn soft, about 40 minutes. Squeeze the bulbs into a small bowl, letting the roasted garlic ooze out. Stir in 1 cup of sea or kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce*. Dehydrate the mixture for 2 hours, then grind to desired coarseness. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Use It After tasting the pungent garlic with hints of smoky chipotle, your store-bought garlic salt will quickly be replaced. Sprinkle this new staple on red beans and rice or carne asada tacos.

* This is the sauce inside a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, available at area grocers


GINGER-LIME SALT
Approximately 1¼ cup


In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of sea or kosher salt with 8 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger, the juice of 1 lime and the zest of 2 limes. Stir. Dehydrate the mixture for 3 hours, then grind to desired coarseness. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Use It If summer had a taste and smell (besides sunscreen), this would be it. Use it to rim margarita glasses or add a touch of tang to grilled shrimp and chicken.


PINOT NOIR-THYME SALT
Approximately 1 cup


In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of sea or kosher salt with 1/3 cup of pinot noir (or red wine of your choice) and stir until it’s slushy. Dehydrate the mixture for 12 hours, then grind to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of thyme and grind to desired coarseness. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Use It By sprinkling this plum-hued seasoning over a fresh-from-the-coals steak or pork chop this summer, you can enjoy hints of steamy berries and warm spice without ever taking out the corkscrew.


MEYER LEMON-ROSEMARY SALT
Approximately 1 cup


In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of sea or kosher salt with the juice of 1 lemon and the zest of 3 lemons. Stir. Dehydrate the mixture for 2 hours, then grind to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of rosemary and grind to desired coarseness. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Use It Add a piney pucker to roasted chicken and potatoes, cold orzo salad or pastas bathed in olive oil or thick, creamy sauces.



MATCHA SALT
Approximately 1 cup


In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of sea salt with 4 teaspoons of Matcha powder. Stir. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Use It Most people either love or hate Matcha, a grassy, slightly bitter Japanese powdered green tea. Mixed with salt and sprinkled on eggs, tofu or brownies, however, the most ardent naysayers just might become addicts.


GOCHUJANG SALT
Approximately 1 cup


In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of sea or kosher salt with 1½ tablespoons of Gojuchang paste* and 1 tablespoon of hot water. Stir. Dehydrate the mixture for 3½ hours, then grind to desired coarseness. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Use It The salt content tones down the paste’s spiciness while still showcasing that umami richness and an orangey red splash of color. Use it on anything you would normally add Sriracha to, particularly eggs, salsas and corn on the cob.

* Available at Jay International Food Co., 3172 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.772.9393



BEFORE YOU SPICE THINGS UP, GET THE DIY LOWDOWN
Making spice mixtures at home is as simple as removing the moisture from whatever flavoring agents you plan to use. To do so, simply spread your salt mixture out in a thin, even layer on a parchment-lined dehydrator tray and dry it in a dehydrator at 105 degrees for the recipe’s specified time. Don’t have a dehydrator? Just spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place it in a 170-degree oven (or your oven’s lowest setting). Once you have your dry mixture, it’s time to get grinding. And while we typically stay out of the great size debate, when it comes to crafting salts at home, there’s just no way around it: size matters. To create coarse crystals – perfect for rimming cocktail glasses, sprinkling over juicy tomatoes, and finishing meat and seafood hot off the grill – use a mortar and pestle to gently grind your mixture just until it resembles a flaky sea salt. For a salt that really sticks to the surface of your ingredients, ideal for dusting over popcorn kernels or homemade french fries, keep churning that pestle until your salt looks like fine sand. You can also pulse the mixture in a spice grinder or a clean coffee grinder.





Ginger-Lime Salt
Makes 1¼ cups

INGREDIENTS

1 cup sea or kosher salt
8 tsp. freshly grated ginger
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 2 limes

PREPARATION

• In a small bowl, combine the salt with the ginger, lime juice and zest.
• Spread the salt mixture out in a thin, even layer on a parchment-lined dehydrator tray and dry in a dehydrator at 105 degrees for 3 hours. Alternatively, spread the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in a 170-degree oven (or your oven’s lowest setting) for 3 hours.
• Grind to desired coarseness.
• Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Use It: If summer had a taste and smell (besides sunscreen), this would be it. Use it to rim margarita glasses or add a touch of tang to grilled shrimp and chicken.

Want to comment on this article? Login or sign up on Sauce.

SEARCH SAUCE
Conceived and created by Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC ©1999-2017, Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Sauce Magazine 1820 Chouteau Ave. St. Louis, Missouri 63103.
PH: 314-772-8004 FAX: 314-241-8004