I know many people buy seasoned salts at fancy gourmet stores (and I have been known to indulge upon occasion myself), but I wondered how difficult it would be to make some at home. The answer is: not at all! They took very little work, though there was a decent amount of time with things dehydrating in the oven. They make fantastic Christmas gifts for your gourmet friends, and really make a great addition to your everyday cooking. Tomato basil salt on corn on the cob? Roasted garlic salt on popcorn? Rosemary lemon salt on roasted chicken? The one flavor I haven’t gotten working yet is smoked salt, but I feel that’s only a matter of time. For now, we’ve tested roasted garlic salt, chipotle paprika lime salt, rosemary sage lemon salt, and tomato basil salt. I’m afraid I don’t have recipes per se for you all, more like guidelines.
As a rule of thumb, when making seasoned salts you want to use 1 teaspoon of flavorings per 1/4 cup of salt. This mainly applies to dried, ground zest and spices. Some spices, though, are more subtle and require double that to really show through the salt. Many people also prefer flakier sea salt for it’s appearance, but I also like a finer variety because it matches the texture of ground spices. Now, on to the actual recipes I tried out. The rosemary sage lemon salt is perhaps the simplest, so I’ll show you that first. Zest a bunch of lemons(I think 3 lemons per cup of salt is a good starting point). Be careful not to get much of the bitter white pith. This is easier on lemons than it is on limes. You can also use a microplane here if you want, which would vastly reduce the dehydrating time in the oven.
Now throw them on a baking sheet and toss them in the oven at 180°F, the lowest my oven did. Yours is hopefully the same. Bake for an hour to an hour and a half, until the rind is brittle and grinds well in a spice grinder.
While you’re baking the lemon zest, throw your rosemary and sage onto another baking sheet (or the same one) and dehydrate the same way.
Grind everything up in a spice grinder, and toss with a cup of salt. If you want stronger lemon flavor, you can even juice some limes, toss the salt with it, throw the salt on a baking sheet, and then dehydrate the salt to get it dry again. The key is for it all to be dry at the end. You’ll have to break up the salt if you add a liquid though, it tends to clump in the oven if it’s wet.
Next up is chipotle lime salt. Start by zesting some limes (about 6). Dehydrate the skins.
Grind the skins in a spice grinder.
Now take some chipotle in adobo and puree it. Maybe two peppers and a teaspoon or two of adobo sauce. Throw in two teaspoons of smoked paprika.
Mix this with the lime zest and a cup of salt, spread it over a baking sheet, and dehydrate in the oven at 180°F. This will probably take 2-3 hours.
Break up the salt with a fork, as it will have dried in clumps.
Now for the tomato basil salt, it’s the same basic steps, with one key difference: use already sundried tomatoes. Not the kind in oil, the dry kind. Throw those in the oven at the usual 180°F for a half hour to 45 minutes, then grind them in a spice grinder. Do the same with the basil. Toss with salt.
The last recipe I have for you today is both the simplest, and my absolute favorite. Roasted garlic salt. You can put this on ANYTHING. Start by roasting some garlic. Cut the top off two heads of garlic, place in a square of aluminium foil, and drizzle olive oil over it. Roast in a 400°F oven for 45 minutes, until soft. Squeeze out, mix with salt, and dehydrate everything in the oven at 180°F for 30-45 minutes. I use two heads of garlic per cup of salt, because I like a really strong garlic flavor. For something more subtle, use just one head.
That’s it. There’s no real recipe. For a fun project, why not just grab some citrus (orange, lemon, lime), a bunch of herbs, and just play around with flavors. Rather than making large batches, just take pinches of everything and mix them. Have friends over, make a buffet line of seasoned salt mixings! Ok, that may be a little silly, but you get the idea!