Photo courtesy Saratoga Olive Oil Co.
Caravel Gourmet, based in Lynnwood, Washington, is one of a handful of artisan salt companies that sells flavored sea salts—from Citrus Fennel to Saffron (one of our favorites that’s delicious on just about anything).
Flavored sea salt is a way to add a light essence of a favorite flavor, by substituting it for regular salt. The only difference is that, instead of salting the food prior to cooking, the pinch of salt goes atop it when it’s ready to serve.
If you love smoky flavor, for example, you can add it by substituting smoked salt for regular salt. There are also layered flavors, such as bacon sea salt and bacon sea salt with seasonings—chile, garlic and so forth. The blend of naturally smoked bacon flavor and sea salt, smoked naturally over alderwood and infused with chipotle pepper flakes, will enhance the flavor of meats, vegetables, baked potatoes, salads, or anything else you would enjoy eating using natural bacon flavor.
Chef Johnny Gnall takes advantage of every opportunity to use Smoked Bacon Chipotle Sea Salt: “First, there’s bacon (which is already a home run); there’s sea salt smoked over alderwood, which has its own tasty and complex flavor profile; and to top it all off, there are chipotle flakes, which add just a touch of heat. It’s a smoky, warm, umami-rich topping for anything. Since it’s salt, you can wield and measure it the same way you would regular sea salt.
“The list could stretch into infinity, but here are 20 for starters.”
If you can’t find the version sold in a grinder, add the salt to any salt or pepper grinder.
Avocado: For a quick and nutritious snack on the go, top an avocado half with a few grinds of the salt and grab a plastic spoon. Not only are avocados high in good fat and potassium, but they contain nearly twenty vitamins and minerals. Best of all, their buttery texture just screams for salt, and this is one heck of a salt to answer with.
Baked Oysters: Put a tablespoon of roasted garlic, a splash of cream and a twist or two from the salt grinder into a mortar and pestle to make a topping for sensational baked oysters. If you can, use a sweeter, less briny varietal of oyster to balance out the salt, like the Kumamoto (the different types of oysters).
Baked Potatoes: Whether you use it in addition to other fixings or on its own with a touch of butter or olive oil, this salt turns an ordinary potato into something that you’ve never tasted before.
Bloody Mary: Flavored salt is the ultimate signature move in personalizing a popular drink. The heat, salt and smokiness are terrific in a Bloody Mary. Wait until you see people’s reactions when they taste bacon in their cocktail. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Feel free to garnish with a slice of crisp bacon instead of a celery stick.)
Caesar Salad: Some people like to crumble bacon on their Caesar (not the traditional recipe). Opt for this salt instead; the heat from the chipotle is a nice balance to the rich creaminess of Caesar dressing.
Chocolate/Caramel: If you’re indulging in a little vanilla ice cream, try drizzling it with chocolate or caramel sauce with a grind or two if this salt stirred in. Like salted peanuts or chipotle chocolate sauce, it creates quite the symphony. Be conservative with your seasoning, because here there’s no trick to fix things if they get too salty.
Condiments: An easy one to dress up is mayonnaise: Sandwiches, picnic salads and other foods in mayo’s realm will be forever changed. But don’t stop there: Add variety to ketchups, hot sauces, even jams and jellies. Then take it a step further and use that newly seasoned jam to slather on a piece of meat for roasting.
Eggs: Be they scrambled, fried, poached or hard cooked, eggs are an obvious choice to pair with bacon salt. Moreover, you may find that a little chipotle heat is just the kick your eggs have been looking for.
Update your pasta with some bacon and
chipotle flavor. Photo by Trutenka | IST.
Fish: This is a particularly great condiment for the more mild filets of fish. Sea bass, and many other fish, can be found complemented by pork on countless fine dining menus. This is a way to get that same flavor without the guilt that comes with a slab of pork belly, and the heat is gentle enough that you won’t lose the flavor of the fish.
Grilled Peaches: This is the same idea as the aforementioned jam, but far, far better. Simply halve and pit a peach, brush it with olive oil and grill, flesh side down, until you have nice, solid marks. Hit each half with a couple twists of this salt and you’ll experience what may be the most delicious use on this list. It’s a ways until peach season, but write this one on your calendar for August. These peaches make an absolutely killer summer accompaniment to pork chops.
Mushrooms: Simple sautéed mushrooms take a smoky, meaty turn with a few grinds. Any type of mushroom will work. Feel free to keep it simple (and affordable) with regular white button mushrooms; they’ll still be fantastic.
Nuts: Break away from store-bought flavored nuts and make your own! Simply toss your favorite unsalted nuts (almonds work particularly well) in a little vegetable oil or butter to coat lightly, lay them out on a sheet pan, hit them liberally with the grinder and bake at 350°F for 5-10 minutes (depending on the nut) until you can smell their yummy toastiness. Let them cool and serve them at parties; they’re sure to impress.
Pasta/Rice: All you need is olive oil, a few grinds of this salt, a light dusting of Parmesan and maybe some chopped parsley. With just this, you can dine pleasurably, but why stop there? Add almost any vegetables you have lying around (or if you are shopping, broccoli does nicely) and all of a sudden Pasta Primavera is reinvented.
Quesadillas: While these cheesy goodies are already simple to make, a few grinds of this salt will really make them stand out. Keep things healthy by going easy on the cheese and filling your tortilla with cooked vegetables.
Raw Meat: Use this salt to season your meat before you sear it, and you’ll get a smoky, savory crust with a little heat.
Roasted Squash: More often than not, cinnamon is the go-to sprinkle-on for roasting squash, especially in the fall and winter. Switch gears from sweet to savory with a few twists of the grinder and you’re likely to end up with very pleased eaters.
Salsa: If you find your store-bought salsa isn’t giving you much, stir in a few grinds of the salt and you’ll add heat and depth of flavor. Just be careful how much you add, as things can get very salty very quickly if you’re too liberal. If you do find you’ve gone overboard, a squeeze of lime may bring things back.
Sandwich Meats: Hopefully you’re staying away from processed, nitrate-filled products, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a killer sandwich made with real meat—preferably, meat you cooked yourself. But sometimes cold turkey can be a little bland, especially if you’re having it several days in a row. A few grinds of this salt will change things up nicely, no matter what you have between two slices of bread.
Toast: This may sound odd, but a piece of toasted baguette (or whole wheat toast for a healthier option) with a little butter and a few grinds of this salt will turn mundane white bread into wow.
Zucchini: Sauté it in olive oil or roast it in the oven, then finish it with the salt just before you serve. The succulent flesh of cooked zucchini works wonderfully with the flavor profile of the salt. Getting kids to eat their vegetables has never been so easy.
WHERE TO FIND FLAVORED SEA SALT
Pouch Of Smoked Bacon Chipotle Sea Salt: Buy.
Smoked Bacon Sea Salt Trio. Three different flavors of bacon sea salts: Smoked Bacon & Onion Sea Salt, Smoked Bacon Chipotle Sea Salt and Smoked Peppered Bacon Sea Salt. Buy.
There are salt specialty sites, such as SeaSaltSuperstore.com, and items can be found on Amazon:
The salt is also sold in gift jars, grinders and other formats and in five flavor variations—plain Bacon, Bacon Cajun, Bacon Chipotle, Bacon Chipotle & Habanero and Bacon Onion.
HOW MANY TYPES OF SALT HAVE YOU HAD?
Check out the many different types of salt.