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International Incident Salt Party – How To Make Finishing Salts

by on November 21, 2010
 

‘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.

—–♥♥♥♥♥—–

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

—–♥♥♥♥♥—–

The Materialistic Baker
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  • March 1, 2011 at 6:18 AM

    So many things on this post that I just have to try. Your ingenuity, attention to detail and creativity is inspiring.

    Reply

  • December 12, 2010 at 3:26 AM

    My RSS feed is giving me fits, so I have no way of knowing when my favorite bloggers update. Consequently I am way behind on my reading. I love making finishing salts, they just add that extra something to a meal. Thanks for sharing your brilliant ideas.

    Reply

  • December 3, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    Your finishing salts are so gorgeous! I especially like the matcha and lime! Great holiday gift ideas!

    Reply

  • December 1, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    The flavours of these salts sound divine!

    Reply

  • November 29, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    These are also beautiful! I love salts, and have only recently purchased fleur de sel and other fine salts. Would love to make them into something like this.

    Reply

  • November 29, 2010 at 8:44 AM

    I love this! I’m especially intrigued by the rose and the matcha finishing salts. They would look superb, I think, on some cookies.

    Reply

  • November 28, 2010 at 12:19 AM

    I am so glad that you can join us this time. You always bring class with you. All great ideas and definitely very interested in making some matcha salt. And the rose sea salt is intriguing as well.

    Reply

    • November 28, 2010 at 5:39 PM

      Adrian, thanks

      Alysha – the salted chocolate caramel is a must-try. I love it

      Lyndsey – I won’t say anything to your dad bout using the dehydrator. I sooooooo want to get one. Thank you.

      Kris @ bake in paris – thanks

      My kitchen diaries – the combination is gorgeous I must say. Thanks

      Su-Lin, glad you like the ideas, and there are uncountable possibilities!

      Krista – Thanks Krista. Lots of love…will have to give lavender salt a go soon!

      Su-Yin, I think it is great not being dependent on salt but I agree also that it adds its own nuances to food!

      Penny, thank you. I too am glad I could join the IIP….life has been so busy! LOL

      Reply

  • November 27, 2010 at 11:52 PM

    I never used to add salt when I cooked, but have learnt to do it over time and boy does it add flavour to food! Even more surprising is how it complements sweet foods like chocolate so well…

    Thanks for the clear instructions on how to make the salts – I particularly like the look of the rose one!

    Reply

  • Krista
    November 27, 2010 at 8:06 AM

    Oh how wonderful, Ozoz! I’m absolutely delighted by this!!! A friend of mine made me lavender salt for Christmas last year and I loved it. :-) You’re such a creative lady. :-)

    Reply

  • November 26, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    I’ve never used finishing salts before but yours look absolutely beautiful! Great ideas too on where to sprinkle them!

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  • November 26, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    What a feast for the eyes and the taste buds! I’m under the spell of your chocolate truffles and rose sea salt!

    Reply

  • November 26, 2010 at 5:40 AM

    So glad to learn something new! The art of scented salt making is so intriguing :-)

    Reply

  • November 26, 2010 at 4:59 AM

    I am loving this post, I saw the title before and waited until I had the time to sit and really enjoy it. I love finishing salts. I was first introduced to them by Jaden Hair and she told me where she goes here in Sarasota to get some great salts. One of my favorites is bamboo salt. I have some matcha I’ll definitely try that one. I wonder if I could dry my hibiscus and use that! hmmmm you really have me thinking! I bought my dad a dehydrator for Christmas, maybe I’ll have to try it out with my citrus before I give it to him, lol! :D JK of course I wouldn’t do that!

    Reply

  • Alysha Ford
    November 25, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    My cousin in the states just had a chocolate, caramel , sea salt cake. I must find one and try it.

    Reply

  • November 24, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    Amazing- to think that it’s just salt. Great depth of colour and flavours.

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  • November 24, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    Oh my goodness, look at those colours Oz! I’m astounded by how deep the tones are..awesome!

    Reply

    • November 28, 2010 at 5:35 PM

      Conor – that’s high praise and I take with a giggly smile.

      Norma,you always save heartwarming comments for me. Thank you

      Steph @ blepharisma – thanks

      Monet, thanks and the salts are gorgeous aren’t they.

      Thanks Anna

      Celia, thanks and the depth of hue is amazing…..I agree

      Reply

  • November 23, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    Oh snap Oz. I was hunting around for a quick reference for some amazing salts and here they are. They’re awesome huh. Love the orange cumin mixture, sounds devine.

    Reply

  • November 23, 2010 at 6:44 AM

    Who would have thought that salt could look so beautiful? I’ve been wanting to experiment more with salt, and I love the recipes you included. The orange and cumin salt is especially appealing to me. I hope to make it soon! Thank you for sharing with me…I hope you have a wonderful week of feasting, friends and family!

    Reply

  • November 23, 2010 at 12:56 AM

    Beautiful Salts!! I’ve become obsessed with fun salts lately, too. Trying not to go too crazy…

    Reply

  • November 22, 2010 at 8:39 PM

    I first look at your pictures. I feel that I am in a museum looking at an exhibition. The persian rose salt is my favorite.

    Reply

  • November 22, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    So very gourmet, these are gorgeous. I find myself wanting to sit down to a big bowl of salt with a spoon.

    Reply

  • November 22, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    Your light is like magic, I swear. These photos are stunning, and insofar as it makes sense to want to slurp up big piles of salt, the photos are making me want to do just that. Brilliant to focus purely on salt. Brava my dear!

    Reply

    • November 28, 2010 at 5:33 PM

      Thanks Rhonda

      Joan, I love your flavour combination too

      Maria – the rose petals I got in a Persian shop here in the Netherlands and the Matcha I bought at G Detou in Paris

      Natasha – thanks

      Casey Agelova, thank you!

      Trix, thanks. I am blessed (and I say that with no lightness) to have large kitchen windows. The thing is now its winter, all my food photography is limited to the weekends when I’m home early and can take advantage of the daylight

      Reply

  • November 22, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    Wow! What a gorgeous contribution! I love the floral salts. I really want to try the rose salt. I am a bit heavy handed with the salt as well, but I do agree with Chef Keller. I hope to learn to master the art of salting ones food!

    Reply

  • November 22, 2010 at 4:08 AM

    These finishing salts you made are gorgeous! The matcha one and the rose petal ones are both a must try for sure!

    Reply

  • November 22, 2010 at 2:23 AM

    Wow! These make for beautiful accents as well as intriguing flavor! I really must get into these details. Where do you find all these wonderful ingredients?!

    Reply

  • November 21, 2010 at 11:28 PM

    I love all of these combinations. You’ve given me so many ideas here for which I thank you. I’ve been making my own house blend of an overall mix with salt, red chili seeds, oregano, fennel seed and star anise for a while now, but I think it needs a little sprucing up!!

    Reply

  • November 21, 2010 at 10:57 PM

    You’re persian rose salt is beautiful, I adore salted chocolates/caramels. Spendid, really splendid.

    Reply

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