Saturday, March 18, 2006

Salt: Flavored: Citrus

During a recent episode of Iron Chef America, Mario Batali whipped up an herbal salt by throwing a handful of taragon into a food processor with some kosher salt. The salt immedaitely turned a vibrant green.

A week later, with a heaping crate of Meyer Lemons ripening in the kitchen, I decided to try the same trick using sel gris and lemon zest. In home kitchen quantities, the mixing is easiest to do with a mortar and pestle. I was really only working with the idea of color, but the flavor was surprisingly pleasant. While the sel gris has a mild flavor that pairs well with the zest, the color really pops when you use kosher salt.

The idea was new to our guests that night, and while my wife and I consider ourselves salt fans (there are ten distinct varieties in the house) we haven't seen a zest-flavored salt on store shelves or menus.

Over time, the salt seems to leech the essential oils out of the zest. There should be a way to separate the salt from the zest once this process has taken place, but I haven't been able to pull it off yet. Any potential business partners out there?


Mr. Happy said...

try dehydrating the zest first, then combine the two...

happy consumptive said...

Heya Mr. Happy, thanks for stopping by. Seems dehydrating the zest first would mean less flavor, and possibly color, to transfer to the salt. The salt does, over time, dehydrate the zest.

And, as you suggest, another few minutes in the mortar and pestle at that point would render the distinction between zest and salt moot. ;]