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flavoured salts

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I've been reading a pretty darned good book by authors Aki Kamozawa and Alex (H?) Talbot called Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work (I think I got the title right- too lazy to go to the john and check)... In the first chapter they give a recipe for a Vanilla flavoured salt:

2 cups fleur de sel
2 whole Tahitian vanilla beans

The method is essentially to split the beans, scrape the seeds into an airtight container or ziploc, dump in the remainder of the bean (husk, whatever) aswell as the 2 cups of fleur de sel (they do have a gram measurement included with all recipes fyi, it is a good book), agitate to combine and allow 2 days or more to infuse.

Seems like a great finishing salt for chocolate or caramel desserts. Or perhaps to add a note of rich character to a steak or joint roast?

I was curious to see however, what my friends at cheftalk would think of to substitute for the vanilla in this recipe? Whatever you substitute must be very fragrant and not tremendously moist. Even better if you can share something to pair your finishing salt with?

I thought of... Lavender salt ... No brainer on that substitution. could finish a honey and orange sorbet nicely. or just orange sorbet with honey drizzled over. Would need to be used sparingly.

I thought as well of perhaps lemon rind... Or tomato vine (the green bit on the top, little leaves and all, these are very very fragrant on their own, probably more than most commercially grown tomatoes themselves. great for stock, or in a sachet in tomato sauce if you don't enjoy the texture). These would be highly versatile but I have some reservations about how aromatic either option is.


What do you folks think?
post #2 of 20

You have some nice ideas. Two savoury options are black garlic and flat leaf parsley. Try tonka bean for sweet.

 

LP.

 

 

post #3 of 20

Because there are so many ways to add flavor I don't think there's much need for a flavoured salt unless it's an ingredient that's hard to come by or it's a salt you'll get a lot of use from like lemon zest salt.  I did just buy some truffle salt which comes in handy on a daily basis lately especially on my eggs.  I'd imagine making truffle salt yourself would be 100 times more tasty!  But what's the purpose of parsley salt for example?  Parsley's always in my fridge and I'd rather add it fresh anyway.

 

Vanilla salt would be nice but really how often would you use it?  I prefer to have vanilla sugar on hand, I take a vanilla bean and scrape it and add all the scrapings plus the bean itself to a container of sugar.  Now THIS comes really in handy when making desserts like rice pudding, muffins, french toast etc.  

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #4 of 20

I make a smoked salt to use when I want to add smoke flavor to something but don't have time to smoke it or don't want to add bacon to it (which doesn't happen often as bacon makes everything better).  I have 2 methods; first is to actually smoke the salt which, believe it or not makes a great product.  The other way is to add small amounts of liquid smoke to salt-just a couple of drops.  Mix and let the salt dry for an hour or 2.  Add another few drops and repeat until you get the amount of smoked flavor that you want.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

Because there are so many ways to add flavor I don't think there's much need for a flavoured salt unless it's an ingredient that's hard to come by or it's a salt you'll get a lot of use from like lemon zest salt.  I did just buy some truffle salt which comes in handy on a daily basis lately especially on my eggs.  I'd imagine making truffle salt yourself would be 100 times more tasty!  But what's the purpose of parsley salt for example?  Parsley's always in my fridge and I'd rather add it fresh anyway.

Vanilla salt would be nice but really how often would you use it?  I prefer to have vanilla sugar on hand, I take a vanilla bean and scrape it and add all the scrapings plus the bean itself to a container of sugar.  Now THIS comes really in handy when making desserts like rice pudding, muffins, french toast etc.  
My thinking is actually the opposite, there are so many ways to add flavour and here we have another now in our repertoire; why use water when you can substitute stock-why use salt when you can substitute vanilla salt or whatever. Sometimes it's not so nice to have parsley in the teeth! biggrin.gif I have never heard of a truffle salt but I had been thinking a bit about mushrooms after reading the recipe ... kind of like umami salt.
post #6 of 20

A couple of advantages of parsley in salt is that because of its potency, you should control the amount by making it into a salt. Also, fresh parsley as part of your mise is sticky and you can easily overuse it on the fly.

 

So if you want to season steaks with parsley during service, having it in salt form makes it much quicker/easier to handle and allows you to have more control of the amount.

 

LP.

post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post
 

I make a smoked salt to use when I want to add smoke flavor to something but don't have time to smoke it or don't want to add bacon to it (which doesn't happen often as bacon makes everything better).  I have 2 methods; first is to actually smoke the salt which, believe it or not makes a great product.  The other way is to add small amounts of liquid smoke to salt-just a couple of drops.  Mix and let the salt dry for an hour or 2.  Add another few drops and repeat until you get the amount of smoked flavor that you want.


Pete,

 

Check out this product. It's easy to get in the UK but not sure about the US. It's excellent!

 

LP.

post #8 of 20

San Francisco Salt Co. sells smoked salts as well.  I have cherry and alder and they are quite flavorful.  A little goes a long way.  I also have a small jar of Ghost Pepper Salt someone gave me a couple of years ago and a little really goes a long way.

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Plongeur View Post
 

A couple of advantages of parsley in salt is that because of its potency, you should control the amount by making it into a salt. Also, fresh parsley as part of your mise is sticky and you can easily overuse it on the fly.

 

So if you want to season steaks with parsley during service, having it in salt form makes it much quicker/easier to handle and allows you to have more control of the amount.

 

LP.

 

Nah.  There's no flavor in dried parsley, please don't put that on my steak.  Parsley is not sticky... unless it's wet in which case it should not be wet when you use it as a "garnish" anyway.  

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #10 of 20
I make a lemon, garlic, and rosemary salt I quite enjoy.
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #11 of 20

If I want smoke flavor, I use smoked paprika or chipotle. The few times I've tried to use a smoked salt, I found the smoke flavoring way too heavy and kind of chemically-tasting. I felt like I was eating the soggy, charred timbers of a burnt building after the fire department had doused the flames.

 

I use fresh herbs, mostly, dry occasionally. I kind of can't imagine using dried herbs in a finishing salt.    I'm with Koukou when she says dried parsley is a flavorless ingredient and that chopped, fresh parsley should be dry enough to sprinkle while it is adding its fresh, green flavor.

 

The only flavored salt I've ever used that I thought could not be improved upon by using fresh ingredients instead, was an herb-infused sel gris from Brittany that I brought back from France. There was something about the way the herbs interacted with the minerally flavor of the salt that was sublime. I bought a large bag of that bag of salt over a decade ago & still have some left. The herb scent has long-since departed but the mineral flavor is still there and I love the big, crunchy chunks.

post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post
 

 

Nah.  There's no flavor in dried parsley, please don't put that on my steak.  Parsley is not sticky... unless it's wet in which case it should not be wet when you use it as a "garnish" anyway.  

 

Who mentioned dried parsley? Fresh parsley does stick to your fingers especially during service when hands are rarely bone dry.

 

Also, millions of people love the pairing of parsley and steak. Chimichurri is one of the top steak sauces in the world and Argentinians know a thing or two about good steak.

 

At the end of the day, it's down to opinions rather than right or wrong. I believe that incorporating parsley into salt has its uses and advantages.

post #13 of 20

Koukouvagia,  one of the reasons to infuse salt is as a way to add just a whiff of a flavour.  Usually these are finishing salts so it will give that flavour up front, on the "fortaste" if you will.  This is often a quick and easy way to "bring a dish around" and give it that little something extra.  

 

Fresh might be great, but fresh is also time stamped.  If I infuse a killo of salt with lemon, for example, that is going to last a heck of a lot longer than a lemon itself will.  Lemons, maybe not the best example as they arent exactly hard to come by, so think of something with a shorter growing season, like lovage or ramps.

 

Also, flavour is not a uniform thing.  Different elements of flavour transfer to other mediums in various concentrations.  Some flavours dissolve in fat, or acid, etc.  Its why a lemon oil or lemon vinegar both are clearly lemon but have their own personality.  The same goes for salts. 

 

Just a quick run down of the salts in my pantry right now:

 

Roasted Dulse

Birds eye Chilies

Curry Leaf

Smoked

"Mole" (coffee, cocoa nibs, peppers, pumpkin seed and dried cherries)

Mixed citrus

Anchovy

 

I also have some hybiscuss salt, but that was store bought.

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Plongeur View Post
 

 

Who mentioned dried parsley? Fresh parsley does stick to your fingers especially during service when hands are rarely bone dry.

 

Also, millions of people love the pairing of parsley and steak. Chimichurri is one of the top steak sauces in the world and Argentinians know a thing or two about good steak.

 

At the end of the day, it's down to opinions rather than right or wrong. I believe that incorporating parsley into salt has its uses and advantages.

 

I like fresh parsley on my steak.  I do mind parsley salt on my steak but that is indeed made with dried parsley, which lacks flavor.  If I saw dried parsley on my plate at a restaurant I wouldn't be impressed.  How does one make parsley salt without dried parsley anyway?

 

I was given a bottle of organic garlic salt once and it had specks of dried parsley in it.  It had no parsley flavor of course but it did contribute dark little green bits into whatever food I put it on.  Is that an advantage?  Perhaps.  It looks pretty in the bottle.

 

I'm not arguing against the validity of usefulness of flavoured salts.  I have a truffle salt, smoked maldon sea salt and celery salt in my pantry right now.  But I don't feel the need to add much to my collection.  

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #15 of 20

Hmmm...No, lemon salt. I think I could be down with that. THAT sounds like a flavored salt that might be useful in a lot of ways.

 

I might be re-thinking the idea that I absolutely do not need to add another jar of anything to my bulging cupboard stuffed with herbs, spices, vinegar and various condiments.

 

Lack of space is another reason I resist adding things that I feel cannot do something necessary better than some other option.

post #16 of 20

This Pinot Noir salt (on the rim of a cocktail glass, over ice cream, chocolate dish, etc.) sounds interesting. How about a Limoncello concoction - or edible flowers?

 

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/the-meadow-pinot-noir-salt/?cm_src=AutoRel

 

Being a citrus fan, I used to use lemon pepper quite often, but have to watch salt intake. A strawberry or lime salt would be nice to play with.

 

Have you ever tried cooking on a Himalayan salt block/tile/plate, or used Himalayan salt?


Edited by Cerise - 5/12/15 at 7:41am
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpoiledBroth View Post

I've been reading a pretty darned good book by authors Aki Kamozawa and Alex (H?) Talbot called Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work (I think I got the title right- too lazy to go to the john and check)... In the first chapter they give a recipe for a Vanilla flavoured salt:

2 cups fleur de sel
2 whole Tahitian vanilla beans...

What do you folks think?

P.S. Just reread.  Two cups sounds like a lot.

post #18 of 20

Garlic salt I use pretty much daily. Celery salt, de riguer for Chicago dogs which I never make, I do use on occasion.

 

I like the idea of a chili salt, as I just bought a package of chiles and need to use them soon.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Today a local greenhouse owner came and show us some of the salts he's been making to sell to local kitchens... included were Merlot salt (meh, I didn't get any Merlot from it but), Pesto salt, Habanero salt and a few others which I didn't get a chance to hear him gab about. I'd be curious to know how he did the Merlot one.
post #20 of 20

Been using flavored salts for some time on a few of our sweets. Ancho-Cocoa on regular truffles. Coffee-Cinnamon on some Ganache products.

At home, use them on some savory dishes. Smoked Ancho-Coffee salt on steaks that have been off the fire and rested. Problem for me at home is use.

I can't seem to make very small quantities and I don't remember I have them when rushing to get things on the table.

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