Five Flavored Salts: Matcha, Tangerine, Lavender, Smoked Paprika, Kaffir Lime

 
Using flavored salts—I also call them “finishing salts”—in your everyday cooking is the simplest thing you can do to elevate an ordinary meal into something sublime. You will of course still need your kosher salt and sea salt, but it’s both useful and fun to keep a fresh supply of these flavored salts within easy reach. If your salts are visible and near the stove, you’ll reach for them often (I keep all five in small pretty ceramic bowls on my stove). Unique, flavor-packed salts are an easy pathway to nearly instant breakaway food—they infuse their deep flavors and lovely colors to everything they touch. Try them on poached eggs, baked potatoes, grilled fish, corn on the cob, tofu, simple pastas, chicken, salad greens, fried rice, hamburgers, roasted vegetables . . . on any finished food that you would season with normal salt. You can also place a small pile directly on the plate and have guests salt their own food.

You can make these salts in about 30 seconds. Combine ¼ cup of sel gris or other coarse sea salt and 1 teaspoon of the flavor ingredient (for the Kaffir lime salt, use two medium Kaffir lime leaves; I keep a small bag of them in my freezer). My current favorites are:


Matcha Salt –  Powdered green tea plus salt. The stunning color bestows an ethereal beauty to foods. The slightly bitter tea marries beautifully with egg yolks, tofu, onions, and even chocolate. Read more about matcha.
     
Tangerine Salt –  Dried pieces of tangerine (or orange) plus salt. Adds tangy, fruity, citrus notes to food. Try it sprinkled on roasted chicken, vegetable side dishes (especially beets), light pastas, shrimp, grilled fish, and omelets.
     
Lavender Salt –  Dried lavender buds plus salt. Excellent on lamb (both as a salt rub before cooking, and a sprinkling afterward), salad greens, heirloom tomatoes, and avocados. Adds a floral, herbaceous touch.
     
Smoked Paprika Salt –  Smoked, finely powdered paprika and salt. Use it when you want a smoky, powerful, earthy blast of flavor. Great on potatoes, fried rice, and grilled meats.
     
Kaffir Lime Salt –  Leaves of the Kaffir lime tree plus salt. This salt infuses a Thai-like flowery headiness to dishes. Works well on poached eggs, seafood, corn on the cob, and steamed rice.
Five Flavored Salts