Avoid costly store-bought versions by making your own delicious, personalized sea salts at home. These are a wonderful addition to any kitchen and also make lovely gifts.
Flavour-infused sea salt is a tasty and elegant addition to food when sprinkled on salads, soups, and eggs, rubbed into meat prior to grilling, and used to finish off roasted vegetables. It also costs a fortune to buy at high-end grocers and specialty spice stores. So why not try making your own? The list of ingredients is fairly short and the delicious result is far cheaper than any finished product you could buy.
The Kitchn recommends using 1 tsp of flavouring for every ¼ cup of salt. Coarser, flakier salts are recommended because they have better texture and appearance. Kosher salt is affordable, but you can upscale with fleur de sel, sel gris, or Maldon salt. Store always in an airtight container in a dark place, and let it sit for a couple days after mixing to allow flavours to infuse.
Here are some simple recipes:
1. Herb-infused salt
This recipe is a version of Tuscany’s ubiquitous ‘aspero’ salt blend that’s used on almost everything. It comes from a blog called Writes4Food.
1 cup fine sea salt
1 Tbsp. each of the following fresh herbs, finely chopped: thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, sage
2–3 bay leaves
1 large clove garlic, peeled
Skewer the bay leaves and garlic on a toothpick. Mix the salt and herbs well in a glass jar with a lid; embed the skewer in the salt. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for a week, shaking the jar well every day. After a week, discard the garlic-bay skewer. Salt keeps in a cool place for 3–4 months; the flavor will deepen over time.
2. Citrus-infused salt
Cut thin strips of peel from lemons, limes, or oranges. You can also grate the peel coarsely. Dry slowly in an oven set to the lowest temperature. Once it’s been fully dehydrated, mix well with the salt using the recommended 1 tsp:1/4 cup ratio. Play around with interesting combinations, such as chili-lime and orange-lemon with rosemary.
3. Saffron-fennel salt
Combine ¼ tsp saffron threads with 1 tsp dried fennel seeds and ¼ cup sea salt. Grind in a coffee or spice grinder until you’ve reached the desired texture.
4. Smoked salt
Set up the grill for indirect grilling. Add 2 cups wood chips that have been soaked and drained. If your grill doesn’t have a smoke drawer, put chips in an aluminum package, poke some holes in it, and place over the heat source.
Spread 2 cups kosher salt in a heatproof pan, i.e. disposable aluminum baking pan. Place it on the grate away from the heat source and smoke for 1½ hours. Cool, then store in an airtight container.
You can try different woods for different flavours, such as apple wood, cedar, hickory, or mesquite.
5. Porcini salt
1 pkg (14 gr/0.5 oz) dried porcini mushrooms
¼ cup sea salt
¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
Grind all ingredients together in a coffee grinder in several batches until powdery with a few larger mushroom bits. Store in an airtight container in a dark place for up to 1 month. (Recipe from Canadian Living.)