We all need salt to live. Not only humans, but almost every animal requires salt as part of its regular diet. It’s the mineral we eat. Actually, it’s the only mineral we eat as a mineral. While we take potassium, magnesium, calcium and other minerals in our food, they are natural components of other foods. We would never sprinkle potassium or magnesium on our food, though today we do add way too much calcium to our food to prevent osteoporosis.

Of course salt is just salt. You have few choices, right? Wrong! Salt comes in a myriad of flavors and can be used in combination with other ingredients to create incredibly flavorful blends.

Here are a couple of our favorites.

Rosemary Salt

Rosemary Salt with Lemon and Pepper

Terrific sprinkled on roast chicken, grilled meats, fish, or steamed vegetables.

Ingredients

  • grated zest of 2 lemons, laid out on wax paper and air dried for 2 days, with no pith
  • fresh rosemary leaves from 2 (5-inch) branches
  • 1 Tablespoon whole, fresh peppercorns
  • 3/4 cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process lemon zest, rosemary leaves, and pepper until finely chopped, about 1 minute. Add salt and pulse until salt forms smaller crystals and mixture is blended, about 30 seconds.
  2. Pack into glass jars with tight-fitting lids and store in a cool, dark place for up to 2 months.

Quick notes

Attach a ribbon and gift tag with serving ideas.

Variations

Try orange zest or lime zest for variations.

Preparation time: 48 hour(s)

Cooking time: 2 minute(s)

Culinary tradition: USA (Nouveau)

My rating 5 stars: ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Quality salt is critical to making well flavored seasoned salts.  Typical table salt just doesn’t cut it.  However, commercial Kosher salt does, and it’s both inexpensive and abundant.  We always have at least one box of it in our home kitchen, and one at each station in our commercial test kitchens.  In addition, we usually purchase more expensive coarse salt, used to be ground or crushed in other blends.

Now here’s an odd thing. As consultants to the restaurant industry, the first thing we do is take the salt and pepper shakers off the table.  To us, it doesn’t matter if it’s a diner or a four-star French restaurant serving the finest haute-cuisine, we believe salt is in the food, and doesn’t need to be added at the table.   Chefs or cooks should flavor the food perfectly in the kitchen. If you instinctively add salt or pepper at the table without tasting it, you’re essentially redesigning the flavor of the food, so give it a try first, and if it needs salt to your taste, ask the server to bring the salt and pepper.  Yes, we’re salt snobs, and damn proud to admit it.

Hibiscus Salt

Incredibly flavorful, with a slight tanginess, this salt is somewhat exotic, yet ethereally delightful.

Ingredients

  • 3 red hibiscus flowers, dried, petals only
  • 2 ounces sea salt

Instructions

  1. Place the flower petals and salt in a clean, dry food processor or coffee grinder (that has never been used for coffee). Pulse or grind till the salt is a bit less coarse, and the petals are pulverized.

Quick notes

Use this to make aromatic, somewhat tropical dishes or rice dishes.

Variations

Substitute organic (food quality) rose petals to make Rose Salt.

Preparation time: 2 minute(s)

Cooking time: 2 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2 ounces

Culinary tradition: Spanish

My rating 4 stars: ★★★★☆ 1 review(s)

Vanilla Salt

This is what you do with the whole vanilla bean after you’ve taken out the seeds for some other purpose. Amazing flavor and wonderful uses come from this delightful blend.

Ingredients

  • 2 inches of already seeded vanilla bean
  • 4 ounces coarse or kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Chop the bean shell into pieces no more than 1/8 inch long. Pulse a few times in the food processor till very small, then add the salt and pulse a few more times till the salt turns a golden hue.
  2. Store in an air-tight jar for up to 2 months.

Quick notes

We use Tahitian vanilla beans from Nielsen-Massey, which are the finest available. You can buy them at Whole Foods and other gourmet food stores. Use this on lobster, crab, shrimp, or with various types of squash and surprisingly, on ice cream or plain vanilla pudding. Yes, ice cream. It’s amazing on popcorn too.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 3 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4 ounces

Culinary tradition: French

My rating 5 stars: ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

A rose by any other name would simply be salt.  Edible roses and other flowers are available from your local gourmet food store often in the fresh or dried herbs section. Whatever you do, don’t go to the florist for them. Commercial roses grown for bouquets are covered in pesticides and really not fit for human consumption.  On the other hand, home grown hothouse roses, without pesticides, and with natural aphid control (usually ladybugs), can be used safely.

Yes, we’re still talking about salt, and we haven’t changed the subject.

Sel aux Tres Fleurs

This rose color salt blend is mild, attractive and adds a delightful perfume to your recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 ounce pink, yellow or peach rose petals
  • 1/2 ounce lavender petals
  • 1/2 ounce red rose petals
  • 4 ounces kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Dehydrate rose petals in a low oven (200 degrees F) with the oven door slightly open for about 1 hour. Do not allow them to burn or turn brown. You can also allow them to air dry.
  2. Place dry flowers in a food processor with salt and pulse until the salt has turned a rose color, about 30 seconds.

Quick notes

This is a wonderful addition to bland recipes, such as rice dishes or pasta salads. Amazing in a chicken or tuna salad. Girls love it on popcorn. Store in an airtight jar for up to 2 months.

Preparation time: 1 hour(s) 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4 ounces

Culinary tradition: French

My rating 5 stars: ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Salt, overall, can be an amazing thing, and one that you can enjoy in a variety of ways.  Be creative with it, and don’t fear it. A very little salt blend goes a very long way.

The sea is full of salt, and many a former sea has yielded superb salt. In Africa, for example, they still mine blocks of sea salt that remain from dehydrated former oceans in what is now the Sahara. Poland has some of the finest salt mines in the world, the result of former salty seas that drained into rock crevices in prehistoric times. Salt is also mined near the Mediterranean, where long gone seas have yielded some of Europe, Asia and Africa’s finest salts.

Spiced Sea Salt

This delicious combination is used well on steaks, burgers or corn on the cob, adding a delightfully aromatic and mildly spiced flavor to foods.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 ounces finest sea salt

Instructions

  1. Add the ingredients to your food processor or spice grinder and blend for 30 seconds.

Quick notes

May be stored for up to 6 months in a tightly sealed jar or container.

Wonderful when used on roast corn on the cob. Also, a great addition to chopped meat used for burgers, meatloaf or other dishes.

Cooking time: under 1 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4 ounces

Culinary tradition: African

My rating 4 stars: ★★★★☆ 1 review(s)

There are spices, and then there’s lots of spices.

Seven Pepper Salt

An intensely peppered salt blend that adds both heat and flavor to some of your most exotic dishes, not to mention the most ordinary. Great on steaks, ribs and chops, and perfect for grilled meats, poultry or fish.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Long pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Cubeb pepper, or Ashanti pepper, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon Szechwan peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon Chinese White peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon Sarawak Black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon Poivron Rouge pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon green peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, whole and toasted
  • 8 ounces Atlantic sea salt

Instructions

  1. Make sure all the peppercorns are fresh, preferably not too hard, and crushed. Use a meat hammer (flat side) or the flat side of a cleaver to crush them between clean tea towels.
  2. Toast the coriander in a dry frying pan over high heat, quickly, till then begin to pop.
  3. Add the pepper and coriander to the spice blender or food processor and pulse till fully ground. Add the salt and pulse for about 30 seconds to blend.

Quick notes

This is very, very spicy, full of heat and a delight for those who love spicy foods. Use it on barbecued or grilled foods. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 5 minute(s), including grinding and blending

Number of servings (yield): 10 ounces

Culinary tradition: USA (Nouveau)

My rating 4 stars: ★★★★☆ 1 review(s)

We will be adding additional salt blend recipes to the collection over time.

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