Epic Ingredients 2: Salts


One of my kitchen secrets is to keep the right sort of salts. At Oliviers & Co there are three which make a good basis for a seasoning collection:

The blue, for fish, contains: laurel leaves, lemon zest, juniper berries, coriander seeds, rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, fennel seeds and basil

The pink, for meat, contains: red pepper, cumin, aniseeds, pink berries, mustard seeds, parsley, basil and black pepper

The green, for pasta and salad, contains: marjoram, tomato flakes, chives and onion.

They work fantastically as a rub for fish or meat. The pink mix also works well with chicken. Sprinkle a bit of the green over a mozzarella and tomato salad for an extra kick.

Another salt ingredient, this time from the French supermarket shelf, is persillade. It’s a simple blend of parsley, garlic with salt and is available in the herbs and spices section of French food stores. Try sprinkling it onto whole chicken before cooking to make the skin taste great. It also works as a simple seasoning for salads or pasta sauces and I like to put it on potatoes before roasting them.

Did you know…

  • that Shakespeare’s King Lear learns the importance of salt when his kingdom runs out of this precious condiment
  • AND when someone says ‘you’re worth your salt’, they mean that you deserve your pay. This harks back to Roman times when soldiers received a salt ration with their salaries. Salt wasn’t as readily available back then and in the days before refrigeration was used as a preservative for food. It was also used in barter agreements. Modern methods of salt cultivation have made it inexpensive compared to times when it was a valuable commodity and salt is necessary in the diet because it helps us regulate our fluid balance
  • THUS the word ‘salary’ is derived from the Roman military’s payment system
  • BUT too much salt is bad for high blood pressure
  • HOWEVER you can now buy salt substitutes easily to help control your salt intake
  • Have you ever noticed that a pepper mill uses metal to grind the peppercorns, but a salt mill uses plastic? This is due to the corrosive effect of salt on metal

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