A little bit of salt is a beautiful thing.
I’m not talking about the pounds of sodium poured into frozen dinners and packaged snacks to overcompensate for lack of flavor.
I’m talking about a smidge thrown on a just-cut summer tomato, a healthy pinch tossed across a porterhouse before it hits the grill, a sprinkle of salt that brings out the natural flavor of real ingredients.
Salt, when used in the home kitchen, makes every dish taste that much better. And there’s a way to finish your foods with an even bigger flourish.
From the old standby of Mrs. Dash to an artisanal jar of alderwood-smoked salt, we’re all familiar with the way a little extra seasoning added to regular NaCl can boost its power exponentially.
Well, why not do it at home in five minutes? The method for making your own flavored salts is stupidly simple.
How to Make Flavored Salts
- For recipes that incorporate dry ingredients only, creating an intensely flavorful salt is as easy as blending the ingredients together in a food processor or spice grinder.
- For salts blended with wet ingredients, an additional step is required. Drying the salt in a low oven for a half hour removes excess moisture so the salt will stay crystallized when stored at room temperature.
Once you have the basic technique down, you can make flavored salts in any combination your little heart desires.
And in terms of creative combinations, this togarashi salt is a blend of flavors that will blow your mind. It’s based on a traditional Japanese spice blend.
It brings together a bunch of first-rate tastes—spicy chili and peppercorns, sweet citrus, almost-creamy sesame seeds, and a saline hit of seaweed—for a punch in every pinch.
The best part about making your own flavored salts, apart from the mad-scientist aspect, is the relative inexpense of each experiment. Salt is one of the most valuable kitchen staples, yet costs mere pennies per cup.
And the few teaspoons of added ingredients mean you can play around with pricier things like kombu (or saffron, or fennel pollen) without blowing the grocery budget.
Togarashi salt is a powerhouse that doesn’t have to be restricted to flavoring Asian dishes. It’s unsurprisingly fantastic on grilled fish and shellfish, and it adds a little something-something to your mom’s chicken soup.
Togarashi salt makes all manner of vegetables into show-stealers, like on these deep-fried beets.
It even works amazingly well as a dry rub for pork and even Thanksgiving turkey.
Togarashi salt just goes to show that when it comes to flavored salt, you basically can’t go wrong.
This recipe makes 1 cup of salt, which is enough to divide into smaller containers and give away to friends and family.
It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving, as everyone will find new ways to use and enjoy this unique seasoning!
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1/4 ounce nori, kombu, or wakame seaweed (in sheets or shredded)
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- zest of 1 navel orange
- 4 ounces coarse kosher salt, such as Morton's
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
- Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet just until they're fragrant and starting to turn golden, then remove from the heat.
- Break the seaweed into small chunks if using sheets, then add to a mini food processor with the black peppercorns.
- Pulse until the seaweed and peppercorns are ground to a coarse powder.
- Add the sesame seeds, chili flakes, orange zest, and salt to the food processor and pulse again until blended.
- Spread the salt on a rimmed baking sheet in a thin layer.
- Turn the oven off, then place the baking sheet in the oven, letting the residual heat dry the salt for 30 minutes.
- Remove the salt from the oven and let it cool to room temperature on the baking sheet, then transfer the salt to a sealable container like a Mason jar.
- Because the natural oils in sesame seeds can make them go rancid after a while, this salt should be stored in a cool, dry place and used within a year.
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