I have a bit of an obsession with salt. I went through a phase tasting every kind of salt I could find, and I still get excited when I come across new types in specialty food stores. Last summer we happened upon a store called The Meadow in New York’s West Village that carries over 100 types of salt and I know this sounds a bit twee and hyperbolic, but I was pretty overtaken by the thrill of a wall of exotic salt from all over the world.
Weird and wonderful salts are fun, but when it comes to everyday use it’s not the Alaska Smoked Sea Salt (truth be told I hardly use it) or the Himalayan Pink that I turn to. What’s surprising is that the most used salts in our home are even more unexpected and were homemade using herbs grown in the garden. Purple basil salt was in regular use around the time that I wrote Grow Great Grub (there is a recipe) and salt with a lemony twist using lemon peel or lemony herbs such as ‘Lemon’ thyme has a lot of applications, making it popular for a time. Recently, Italian herbed salt (Salomoia Bolognese) has been our go-to flavour for a year now, and I still find myself using it in new ways everyday.
Every year I seem to focus on a specific flavour and perhaps it is because I have so much of it right now that this year’s is lavender. I made up a batch the other day when my favourite culinary variety ‘Hidcote’ came into season. While I haven’t had much chance to use it, I have lots of experience cooking with lavender and have brainstormed some uses for a lavender-infused salt that I will be trying over the coming months.
Use lavender salt:
- with chocolate deserts. I’m even thinking of trying it on top of chocolate ice cream
- as a rub when roasting or grilling meat or big chunks of vegetables
- as a seasoning on top of potatoes or winter squash
- when baking bread or sprinkled on top of a sliced of freshly baked, buttered bread
- on homemade savoury crackers
- as a salad seasoning
- sprinkled on top of sliced fresh fruit or tomatoes
- as a salty rim on a cocktail glass
RECIPE: Lavender Salt
Choose an English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) variety for this recipe. I used my favourite culinary variety,’Hidcote’ but ‘Munstead’ would also work well. Harvest the lavender on a dry and sunny morning, just before the flower buds have opened.
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh English lavender buds
- 1/2 cup course or fine grey sea salt
Pluck the lavender buds from their stems before measuring.
In a clean jar, combine the salt and lavender. If the lavender is wet, I suggest laying the mixture out to dry for a day on a baking sheet before putting it in a jar.
If using dried lavender, chop the buds with a knife or pulse the salt and lavender mixture once or twice in a food processor to release the flavour.