Day 10, Flavored Salts

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 10

Flavored salts are so easy to make and they’re such a great way to punch up dishes at home.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 10

Cook with them or use them as finishing salts — either way, they’ll impart loads of flavor. I made three versions for you today.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 10
Doesn’t this just look like Christmas with the red chiles and green lime zest? So festive!

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 10
Very subtle smoked flavor with great umami.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 10
My favorite of the three. It’s smoky and spicy with a big hit of fruity orange.

I took the Chile-Lime recipe directly from The Kitchn‘s guide to making flavored salts, but winged the other two with ingredients I had in my kitchen, just to see if I could do it.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 10

Because that took so little time and I was so happy with the results, I created labels for you to download if you’d like to give these to the food-lover in your life. They’d make great little stocking stuffers, don’t you think? You can download the labels here. I affixed them to my 2-oz. spice tins with Scrapbooker’s Glue. (I tried, I mean really tried to do these on printable labels, but the template was impossible to work with. Perhaps it works better if you’re on a PC.)

recipes after the jump

Flavored Salts
The most cost-effective salt to use for these is kosher salt, which is what you see above. If you want something more special to use as a finishing salt, try Maldon or even fleur de sel; just know that it’ll be a bit pricier. To dry your citrus zest, place fresh zest in a small bowl and microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds, then stir.

Chile-Lime-Pimentòn Salt from The Kitchn

1/4 cup salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried lime zest
1/4 teaspoon pimentòn (smoked paprika)

Mix all ingredients well with your fingers, a mortar & pestle, or in a spice grinder but be careful not to pulverize the salt. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Store in an airtight container. Allow salt to sit for one day before using for flavors to combine.

Mesquite-Porcini Salt
You’ll need a stovetop smoker for this, or you can throw it in the top of a regular smoker if you have one going for other purposes. Easiest of all would be to purchase smoked salt, but where’s the fun in the that?

1/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon mesquite chips for stovetop smoker
2-3 teaspoons ground porcini mushrooms (Dried porcini mushrooms, brushed well to remove dirt, then ground finely in a spice grinder.)

Set up your stovetop smoker according to instructions. Place salt in single layer on a piece of foil folded up at the edges. Smoke for 10-15 minutes, remove salt from smoker and allow to cool before proceeding.

Mix smoked salt and ground porcinis with your fingers, a mortar & pestle or in a spice grinder, but be careful not to pulverize the salt. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Store in an airtight container. Allow salt to sit for one day before using for flavors to combine.

Chipotle-Orange Salt
If you grind your own chipotles, be sure to let the dust settle before opening your spice grinder. Just a friendly warning from someone who didn’t. <cough, cough, sneeze> Ahem.

1/4 cup salt
1-2 teaspoons ground chipotle chiles
2 teaspoons dried orange zest

Mix all ingredients well with your fingers, a mortar & pestle or in a spice grinder, but be careful not to pulverize the salt. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Store in an airtight container. Allow salt to sit for one day before using for flavors to combine.

Note: I’m planning to open an Etsy store in the new year to sell prints, cards, etc. Tell me: would you like to see these Advent Calendar posts collected into a set of cards with the recipes? Anything else your hearts desire?

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  1. These look AWESOME. Such a great gift, and the flavors sound fantastic! I definitely need to give it a try. Any ideas on drying zest if you don’t have a microwave (I don’t, but if it’s the only option, I could try to use one at a friend’s house.)

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  4. I’m the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I’d love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

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  10. I don’t have a smoker and I can’t find any place that sells smoked salt.. can you give me an alternative?? I’ve started making these for Christmas presents; so far they look great.

    • Hi Alexis,

      You might be able to try a drop of Liquid Smoke in coarse salt, then shake it up and let it sit overnight. This is just a guess as I’ve never tried it, but in theory, it could work!

      Also, I don’t know if you live near a Marshall’s or TJ Maxx store, but I know I’ve seen smoked salt there on occasion. If it weren’t so close to Christmas, I’d suggest ordering it from any number of places, but the rush shipping charge would negate any benefit of making DIY presents.

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  16. This is great! I use finishing salts from The Salt Cellar (https://www.salt-cellar.com) because making them myself isn’t always doable. This inspires me to be more of a DIY person. Have you tried using Himalayan salt at all?

    • I have a huge bag of Himalayan salt, but haven’t used it yet. Do you recommend it for this sort of thing?

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