I think the world can be divided up between the folks who most love sweets and those who crave saltiness. And while I’m a pretty big fan of candy, my true love lies with the salty stuff. Salt is pretty amazing stuff: it’s the only rock that humans use as a food additive, and like wine, salt has terroir, and while trying different types of salt might not be as exciting as tasting wine, it’s still quite interesting how something as simple as sodium chloride could be so versatile — not to mention vital to our very survival.
Jess’ mom shares my enthusiasm for different kinds of salt, and she’s given me some good ones over the years, from mineral rich gray Celtic sea salt to iron-rich Hawaiian red salt, and after she returned from a recent visit to our family out in Colorado, she brought me some herb-infused sea salt from the Camargue region of Southern France. This region of brine lagoons and wetland marshes is famous for its salt, producing some of the finest sea salts around, and this lovely jar was no exception. This particular salt is a coarse, flake salt that has been infused with two of my favorite herbs, thyme and bay leaf, making it a wonderful addition to a lot of my regular dishes. Tonight I added it to some fingerling potatoes and simply roasted them — and the results were splendid. I like my roasted potatoes very simply done: freshly cut pepper, salt, and enough olive oil to coat. Roast at 400 degrees until the potatoes are done like you like them — we prefer them to be crunchy on the outside with a nice, mealy center.
I think my next use for this salt will be as part of a rub for a stuffed chicken galantine or pork loin, because I think the herbal flavor will go quite well with white meat. I’m also considering grinding some of it fine and using it as a topping for popcorn — Jess’ mom brought us some of that back, too — so we’ve definitely only scratched the surface of what can be done with this salt!