I have to admit, I do like salt. As a chef, salt is something you are constantly using, tweaking dishes with it, adjusting levels of it. In my many years in professional kitchens, I have learned about and used many different types of salts. I have had the experience of harvesting sea salt and watching it dry out. It's a beautiful process! Sea Salts, maybe you have seen in your daily grocery shopping, have become very mainstream. I am thrilled about this! Having grown up next to salt water, I can tell you that sea salt is decidedly different than kosher salt, and certainly a completely different product than iodized salt. So now we have all this fancy salt. My next experiments with it started sort of by mistake. One busy night in a kitchen somewhere far, far away (not really, but it sounded fun) a container of Turkish Aleppo pepper I had on my station for adding to one of my dishes that night tipped over into my "finishing" sea salt container. Ooops. A happy mistake that turned out to be! I mixed them up and haven't looked back! The fruity spicy flavor of the Aleppo made me think some citrus zest would elevate it's flavor even more. And it did! This became a go to for me (and for some of my co-workers who would try to steal my jar of it....) It adorns my husband's breakfast eggs and avocado (almost) every morning.
This happy mistake made the creative juices start to churn, and I developed a few other combinations over the years that have become my sort of "ride or die" seasonings. The Mediterranean Herb Sea Salt is based on one of my favorite combinations known as Za'atar, hailing from the Middle East. I have a great affinity for Middle Eastern flavors -- earthy, herby, fruity and tangy. The mix I have settled on includes lemony sumac and toasty sesame seeds, which I have mixed with a variety of dried herbs and beautiful flaky Maldon sea salt from England. This combination is delightful on anything from olives, to soft cheeses (make your goat cheese fancy!), to a seasoning for turkey burgers.... It's great mixed with some olive oil and drizzled on flatbreads or pizza.
Another combination that has become a staple is the Savory Himalayan blend. Pink Himalayan sea salt is just so beautiful! It has a velvety texture, which I love. I have combined this with some of my favorite dried herbs and spices, such as coriander, rosemary and smoked paprika, to name a few. It has become a great kitchen companion as a dry rub for meats, or for seasoning soups and stews! It is especially good with earthy flavors and textures such as mushrooms, root vegetables and hearty grains like Farro.
Now for a little vacation.... Here is beautiful Salt Pond on Saint John in the US Virgin Islands, where you can see the salt "bloom" in action! My parents happen to live nearby this (lucky me, I know!) and harvest a little when the bloom happens, which they then dry in a sunny spot. It's delicious and very special to me.
I hope you, too, can become inspired by my sea salt combinations! Think of them as an elevation of your home cooking, a little tweak of flavor that is exciting and new!
As always, I look forward to seeing you at the Market! This weekend in Hastings, I will be bringing some very comforting soup varieties, which you can find on my site www.jodys-kitchen.com/shop along with all of the sea salts and some other goodies!