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‘Help waiter, there’s too much salt in my eggs’. I want to send it back to the kitchen. To me. For I’m the cook, serving and waiting upon myself!

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I would consider myself a skilled cook – I’ve been cooking since I was 13 and despite my afore-mentioned culinary prowess, the one thing that defeats me on occasion is salt. I find that I’m too heavy handed with it. Well ok, to be honest, fresh chilli pepper does that too in that I overdose but for the purpose of this post, let’s focus purely on salt.

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According to Thomas Keller, “The ability to salt food properly is the single most important skill in cooking.”

And I agree. According to my husband though (who cooks very little), that’s my greatest failing as a cook- never mind that he can’t salt his eggs either. ‘After all’ he says, ‘You’re the cook’.

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This month’s International Incident Party has ‘salt’ for its theme so here we go.

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In the last few years I’ve graduated from plain free-flowing table salt to the finer and higher-prized sea salt. Learning to use both is a very fine art. A few months ago at the Pure Market, I met Jeroen of ‘The Salt room’. I was wowed by the stunning variety of salts he had: Maldon to Himalayan and Fleur de Sel; flower salts, Hibiscus, Iranian Sapphire salt, all manners of rock salts and special rock shavers/graters.

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In the end, I bought a small sack of Sel de Guérande – greyish coarse sea salt which the owner of the stall described as soft and tasting of the sea. I said then ‘For me, it will form the basis of making finishing salts which I’ve been longing to do since I made citrus salts’.

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Why ‘finishing salts’?, Because they are quite distinctive flavoured, easy to make at home and fantastic to garnish and infuse dishes with a final touch of fragrance and taste just before they reach the table. One thing to remember when using them is to limit the amount of salt used during cooking, and then finish with a fresh burst of the sea and any other flavours mixed in.

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The guys at The Meadow say ‘A good finishing salt has unique mineral, moisture, and crystal qualities that play off your food to create more flavor, better texture, and new beauty.

L&G, I nod again.

For this party, I was eager to make some Matcha salt, spied at Eric’s, The Breakaway Cook and using some of my matcha which last appeared in some matcharons. Albeit failed. Oh by the way, I am thinking of trying to make macarons one more time before the year ends. Wish me luck!

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Also inspired by Eric who made a lavender one, I decided to make a floral salt, which would go nicely with sweet things like chocolate. And so I rustled up some chocolate caramel truffles, dunked them in melted chocolate and stuck them in the fridge till they hardened. When it was time to serve, I sprinkled some edible Persian rose salt over the top for a fragrant, colourful finish – my friend E, thought it was out of this world.

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Finally, I made some orange and cumin salt, a flavor combination I adore, especially with vegetables. Of all the salts, this was by far the most scented as I toasted the cumin seeds prior to blitzing. Every time I open the small jar, I get whiff after whiff of flavour, it delights my soul! Enjoy the recipes and have a great week.

Some resources:

How to dry your own citrus wheels, on Kitchen Butterfly

Brownie salt…yes brownie salt from Lemonpi

Steamy Kitchen on Making Your Own Flavored Salts

A call to the new wave of ‘dressing’ food from The Washingtonian: Move Over, Flavored Oils; Finishing Salts Have Arrived!

The Garden Nanny encouraging us to Do-it-yourself-gourmet-finishing-salts

And I love the two salt primers from  The Saltworks and Cooks Corner

And finally, Suite101 has an article called ‘A ‘Salt for Every Purpose’

The recipes: 3 Finishing Salts

Note the ingredient proportions are guides – you will be the best judge of the result. One piece of advice, you want enough flavour-to-salt ratio so you can add the result to dishes and not over salt!

Salt #1: Matcha and Lime salt

IMG_6687The resulting salt is a vibrant green, herbaceous smelling mix. Though the colour dulls with age, the grassy, earth perfume and taste remains. Its great on eggs – boiled and fried. I think it would also work well on salads and in vinagrettes, on plain steamed/pan-fried fish and with rice.

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Ingredients

1 teaspoon matcha (green tea powder)
1-2 dried lime wheels, broken into small bits
2 tablespoons sel de gris (grey sea salt) or regular coarse sea salt

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How to

Combine all ingredients in a spice/coffee grinder and blitz till well combined.

Store in a jar, with a lid and use as desired.

Salt #2: Orange and cumin salt

Fragrant, scented, full of flavour is this salt – one of my favourites. Risottos, pasta salads, seafood, dips are calling out its name. I used some in my guacamole recently. I love you salt.

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Ingredients

2 dried orange or tangerine wheels, broken
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan
2 tablespoons sel de gris (grey sea salt) or regular coarse sea salt

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How to

Combine all ingredients in a spice/coffee grinder and blitz till well combined.

Store in a jar, with a lid and use as desired.

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Salt #3: Persian rose petal salt

I love the rose salts for the colour, a very fashionable burst of pink crystals with bits of rose petal ferrying blooming, Middle Eastern tastes. Like I said, on the truffles they contrasting flavours played off extremely well. A keeper for sure. Next stop, I’m thinking cookies of some sort but we shall see!

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Ingredients

2 teaspoons dried edible rose petals
!/2 teaspoon vanilla powder (optional)
2 tablespoons sel de gris (grey sea salt) or regular coarse sea salt

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How to

Combine all ingredients in a spice/coffee grinder and blitz till well combined.

Store in a jar, with a lid and use as desired.

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Thank you Penny for being a gracious host. Please check out what the other guests brought to the party and see you soon.

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The Materialistic Baker

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