Tag Archives: sea salt

Seasoning your Sea Salt with Pink Peppercorn and Wasabi

 

Different types of Sea Salt

Fleur De Sel, Himalayan Rock, Maldon, Black Lava and Murray River Salt

Salt, our bodies can’t do without it, it’s an essential nutrient, a taste enhancer, modifier and a food preservative. Whenever salt touches food it livens and elevates flavours and taste and I can’t imagine cooking without salt. However, in terms of health, salt is salt and I try to pay attention to how much I use with cooking. Maybe you already know, our daily recommended salt requirement should not exceed 6g for adults (children 4g), whether it’s table or gourmet salt. Unlike gourmet salts, regular table salt is highly processed, denser, has anti caking agents (prevents clumping) and sometimes iodine is added.

Gourmet salts are more expensive as they go through different processing techniques and this gives rise to the salt crystal’s characteristic shape, color, texture and size. The shape and size of different salt crystals also impact how salt tastes… try a little (a flake vs a few granules) on your tongue… it’s salty, but the intensity and texture varies… you might want to have a glass of water near by. This can influence how you use these salts as seasonings in your preparation and presentation of different foods. I am not bought on the antioxidant effects and health benefits touted by gourmet salts sellers (pun intended)… how much would you need to consume to make that difference? Maybe you disagree!

seasoned salt

Sea Salt with Pink Peppercorns and Wasabi

Sea Salt with Chilli, Pink Pepper, Saffron, Wasabi and Dried Mushroon

Maldon Sea Salt, Wasabi Powder, Pink Peppercorns, Chilli Flakes, Saffron and Dried Mushrooms

Certain sea salts can look very glamorous and appealing when sprinkled over finished dishes and I love the color and texture of both the black lava and peachy Murray river sea flakes.
Seasoning salts (for use as finishing salts) are easy to make and there are endless possibilities when it comes to flavoring them, use a single or a combination of flavorful ingredients like spices, herbs, truffles and citrus peels. Sea salt with vanilla and fresh rosemary and lemon peel are other favorites of mine. We are all pretty familiar with celery, garlic and onion salt. My grandmother used to keep a little jar of garlic salt which she loved to sprinkle over a boiled egg and that was probably the fanciest salt I ever grew up with.

The pink peppercorn and wasabi seasoned salt is delicious when sprinkled over a juicy steak just off the barbecue, but can also be use on grilled chicken and fish. Our taste for saltiness and flavor differs so have fun and enjoy experimenting. If you are looking for some gourmet salt, the Plaza Food Hall (Seef area) and Crescendo (Seef mall) in Bahrain stock various gourmet salts.

 Pink Peppercorn and Wasabi Sea Salt

  • 1 teaspoon of pink peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon of wasabi powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt flakes (use Maldon or Murray River flakes)

Try: Use the other ingredients (pictured above but not included in recipe), dried mushrooms, saffron, smoked paprika or chill flakes to make different seasonings. Use a spice grinder to powder the dried mushrooms. Pound the saffron in a pestle and mortar with a small pinch of sea salt. You can leave the chili flakes whole if liked.

How to make: Gently pound the pink peppercorns together with a small pinch of the measured sea salt flakes. Tip the pink peppercorns into a small dish and mix in the wasabi powder. Add the salt and mix ingredients together. Place in a small serving dish and let everyone season their own food.

Preserved Lemons

I always like to keep a constant supply of what I call my must-have store cupboard essentials, like home-made vanilla products, dried tomatoes, preserves etc.  Even though I refer to them as store cupboard items, some need refrigeration, as living in the middle east does not allow for a cool enough pantry or store cupboard.

Used in Moroccan and North African cooking, preserved lemons are an indispensable and wonderful item to have… at a moments notice food can take on a new dimension both in flavour and taste by adding small amounts of preserved lemons to salad dressings, salads, stews, relishes, pizza toppings, stuffings, marinades and so much more.

When I started preserving lemons I remember following a recipe that used so much salt that I found them inedible and quite horrible, throwing the whole lot in the bin and not thinking much of preserved lemons.

Before satellite TV came to Bahrain my parents would record cookery programs for me and send them by post. Dad was usually in charge of editing but I could always tell when he had nodded off on the job, leaving me to watch cookery programs along with long TV commercials and bits of other programs. And it was in one of those recorded cookery programs I gave preserved lemons another chance… and if you have never tried making them before, it is so worth the effort!

A little goes a long way with preserved lemons, which are salty, tart and intensely flavoursome and when it comes to slicing and dicing the preserved lemons, a good sharp knife is a must, obtaining the finest results.

With a lemon tree (two years) growing in the garden I would so like to tell you that I am using my own organic lemons, but will have to wait until next year… all my lovely little lemons this year turned black and fell off 😦  I am still not giving up… so fingers crossed for next year.

Preserved Lemons - Diced and Sliced

 Preserved Lemons

Ingredients:

  • 5 lemons, (see note below if not using organic or un-waxed lemons)
  • 5 rounded tablespoons of sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaf
  • extra juice of 3 or 4 lemon (zest beforehand and use in another recipe or dry the peel)
  • olive oil

You will need a suitable preserving jar with a tight fitting lid.

How to make: Using a sharp knife cut the lemons lengthways into 4 quarters, stopping just about 1/2cm before the stem, keeping the lemon quarters intact. Open the lemons up a little and place a rounded tablespoon of salt into the middle of each lemon. Tightly pack all the lemons into a clean sterilized jar, adding the mustard seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Cover the jar with a lid and set aside for several hours, by this time the lemons will start to release a little of their juices.

Open up the jar and using the back of a small ladle, push the lemons down into the jar, helping to release more juice. Pour in the extra lemon juice to fully cover the lemons. Pour a thin layer of olive oil over the surface of the lemon juice and cover with a lid.

Store in the refrigerator for one month before using! When using the preserved lemons remove the pulp and dice or slice the required amount. The pulp can be liquidized and used sparingly in marinades, stews or discarded if wished. Use lemons within six months.

Tip: To help remove and melt the wax from lemons; place lemons into a heatproof bowl and pour over some very hot (not boiling) water. Leave the lemons to sit for a minute or two. Remove the lemons using a slotted spoon or tongs and immediately dry the warm lemons by rubbing them with some kitchen paper or a clean lint free tea towel.

Try using different whole spices like, fennel seeds, cumin, coriander seeds, cardamon pods allspice and star anise, you could also add whole dried chilli.

Have you made or used preserved lemons before? What is your favourite way of using them?

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