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Aromatic Salt (sale aromatico)

You've gotta love having a little stash of tasty, aromatic salt hiding out in the fridge waiting to be pulled out at the last minute to add pizzazz to almost any savory dish.  You've also gotta love the word pizzazz.  Pizzazz!  Go ahead say it.  PIZZAZZ!  Fun, right?  Although once I've said it a certain number of times, it starts to come out sounding like something Gomer Pyle would say.  Pizzaayuhzz.  

But truly, if you whip up a batch of this when you have fifteen spare minutes, you'll be in for many future moments of pleasure.  Grilling a steak?  Sprinkle it with some of this aromatic salt as soon as you turn it.  Watch it melt into the warmth and smell the sweet fragrance of garlic and herbs with an undercurrent of bright lemon.  Sprinkle it on fish.  Season under the skin of a bird before you roast it.  Drizzle some new potatoes with olive oil and then give it a shower of this goodness before giving it a roast in the oven.  Toss it in hot, buttered broccoli or green beans.  Use it to flavor homemade cheese.  You name it, you'll want to include it.

You may feel a certain pull.  Something guiding you to the fridge.  And maybe you'll find yourself opening up the container holding your booty and then reaching in to take a little pinch.  Pungent, spicy, lemony, herby salt.  It's like that.
Aromatic Salt

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: n/a
Keywords: condiment herbs salt

Ingredients (~6¾ oz.)
  • ~2 oz. thyme (or rosemary) sprigs
  • ~1¾ oz. sage sprigs
  • 2-4 small dried red chiles
  • 2 bay leaves
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¼ oz. black peppercorns
  • 9 oz. salt (kosher, coarse or flake sea salt, or a mix)
Pull the thyme (or rosemary) sprigs from the stems...or leave the thyme on the stems if they are soft. Pull the sage leaves from the stems. Place both in a food processor (I use a small one left over from when my babies were actually babies and I made baby food) along with the bay leaves, chiles, lemon zest, and garlic. Pulse-chop until everything is in tiny pieces.

Transfer to an airtight container with a lid. Grind the peppercorns and stir them into the mixture along with the salt. Mix thoroughly and keep in the refrigerator.

If you like heat, add all of the dried chiles, seeds and all. If you aren't sure, start with two. Cut a slit in the side and shake out most of the seeds before adding to the processor. You can always grind up more if you decide you want it spicier.

adapted from Twelve by Tessa Kiros
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