I am a savory kind of gal. And by that, I don’t mean that I’m tasty. I mean that I love my salt! I much prefer salty foods to sweet. Give me a sandwich with pastrami and cheese any day over a bowl of ice cream and I am a happy girl. So, just imagine my delight when I was introduced to the idea of flavored salts!
I recently had an opportunity to sit down, share a cup of tea, and talk salts with the lovely Janna Wemmer, one half of the power team that is Secret Stash Sea Salts. Joseph Conrad, Executive Chef at Ventana, and Twist Restaurant in Seattle makes up the other half of the team, and boy, what a talented duo!
For another savory gal, she is just so sweet!
These seasoned salts are not like your average flavored sea salts that are mass-produced. These are hand-made with love in small batches, and use only the finest of ingredients. The salts come from the salt beds on Ile de Ré in France, where the top layer of fine, light crystals are harvested from the surface in the summertime only when the conditions are just right. The seasonings used to flavor the salts are locally sourced as much as possible, many from area farmers markets, then reduced to a stock, and dehydrated before being mixed with the salt.
Jars are designed for ease – perfect shape/size to put fingers in & grab a pinch.
I am not a chef, just someone who loves food, cooking, and trying new things. When I heard of seasoned salts, I was afraid that they might be too fancy for me, the home cook, but really it’s all about making things easier in the kitchen. You see, it’s much more efficient – you can make a meal more flavorful, while still cooking very simply, because it’s all in the salts. One does not have to spend a lot of time chopping or shaving several ingredients. It’s already done for you.
And they are extremely versatile. There are eight different flavors and many ways that each can be used. I had such an adventure trying each of the samples Janna gave me, and I just couldn’t wait to share them with you!
Last week, I gave you a sneak peek at one of the salts, Chorizo flavored, in my post about this lovely little breakfast sandwich. This salt is great on eggs however you like to prepare yours; scrambled, fried, poached, and of course, egg sandwiches!
You can also use this salt on chicken, nachos, grilled cheese, and I bet it would even be yummy on popcorn! Mmmmm, I may have to try that next…
Janna reccomended that the Lavendar Rosemary Sea Salt be used on chicken, vegetables, potatoes, pork loin. But I found many other uses for it as well.
I tried it on salmon, and it was some of the best I had ever made. Just sprinkle it on, wrap the fish up in aluminum foil, and then toss it on the grill or bake it in the oven at 425. Be sure not to over cook your fish. Overcooked fish, as with anything, changes the flavor. I usually pull mine off the heat when the thickest part is still just barely dark pink, and let it sit for a few minutes. You can serve it just the way it is or, for even more of a delight to the tastebuds, lightly drizzle the fish with a flavored olive oil – I used a spicey garlic olive oil, Sotto Voce Olio Buon Gustaio, and the combination was out of this world!
No pictures of the finished dish – sorry, we just got so excited at the deliciousness of it all and it was gone before I realized I hadn’t snapped a photo. 😛
It is also very tasty on corn on the cob in lieu of traditional salt! Pull back the husks and clean out the silks, then replace the husks and soak the ears for several hours in a big tub of water. Pop ’em on the grill (or a campfire!) and cook till warm. The water soaked into the husks helps to steams the corn and the grill gives the corn a nice smoky flavor. When they’re ready, just pull back the husks, butter them up and sprinkle on some Lavendar Rosemary salt – perfection!
The Niciose Olive Sea Salt is great on salads. Janna gave me this tip and I think it’s just brilliant! Sprinkle this salt onto your sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. Let sit for a few minutes to bring out the moisture in the vegetables.
Then toss in your greens – no need for oil. What a nice, light salad.
And, oh, wow! What an incredible snack this was! Who knew that a little salt could make a boring old bagel with cream cheese so heavenly? Sprinkled with the Nicoise Olive Sea Salt, it was like having a tapenade atop my bagel. You have to try this! Go easy on the salt though, a little of this one goes a long way.
The Bloody Mary Sea Salt is flavored with sun-dried tomatoes, paprika, cayenne pepper, wasabi powder, and celery salt. On pasta it makes for a simple, yet delicious, dinner – just toss with olive oil, parmesan and the salt – so easy!
The Bloody Mary salt also gave a little fabulousness to this plain cottage cheese and tomato lunch.
Almond Cardamom made from sea salt, almonds, orange zest, and cardamom was fantastic in this quick pre-dinner snack I laid out for the boys. They just love to dip bread in olive oil and basalmic vinegar. All I did was add a little dash of this salt to the oil and it gave it another amazing layer of flavor.
Funny thing is, remember how I told you at the beginning of this post that I love savory over sweet? Well, my favorite way to try out the salts was actually a dessert.
I had been wanting to try grilled peaches for quite a while now, and all of the recipes I read used salt in them. So, I seperated the peaches, popped out the pit, rubbed them with olive oil and sprinkled the Almond Cardamom salt on top.
Then I grilled the peaches for a few minutes on each side. They don’t have the perfect grill marks on them that I saw in all the pictures, but that’s okay, I covered them up with some whipped cream and fresh mint from my garden.
Isn’t is beautiful? This was by far – the best use of any of the salts I tested out! Melt in your mouth fabulous! Maybe I am more of a sweet girl than I realized…
Secret Stash Sea Salts are available at the Queen Anne Framer’s Market each Thursday evening, May – October, or you can order them online. They come in the 3.5 oz jars, or you can buy the 1 oz sample size. I recommend that you stock up on a variety of them by purchasing the 8-pack, as you can see each flavor has a mutitude of possibilities.
Enjoy! And please let me know which one’s you try and what creative uses you find for your salts 🙂