Archives for January 2007

Tuscan Spiced Salt

Tuscan Spiced Salt

I’ve become a Spice Girl this past month – I had the cool (I thought) idea to mix up some seasoned salts to give as gifts. I know, another Martha moment. But, listen, it was really fun, and so easy to do.

A few weeks ago, I went to Penzey’s, my all-time favorite source for fresh spices. It’s also one of the very few places that J is happy to visit with me on errand day. He just loves to find the cinnamon section, where, I kid you not, there are more varieties on display then you ever thought possible, each with their own flavor and aroma profile.

I take the top off the big jar they have available for sniffing, and he sticks his little nose right in there. Mmmmm. Then we move along to the vanilla and cocoa section for more aromatherapy before I continue on with the business at hand, which is stocking up on the freshest spices you’ll find anywhere. I usually pick up a few boxes of Diamond kosher salt while I’m at it; for some reason this brand isn’t readily available in my regular grocery store, and I prefer it over Morton’s kosher, which has smaller, less articulated flakes. (I can get a little geeky on the topic of salt, but if you find yourself curious, read this.)

I packed little jars of my spiced salts and decorated the lids with nice decorative paper, labels and ribbons. Aren’t they cute?

One of my favorite creations turned out to be a citrusy, slightly spicy Tuscan-style blend. Last night I rubbed some on a boneless pork loin about 2 hours before roasting it in a 450 degree oven , and it was pretty darn good – juicy and tender.

Tuscan Spiced Salt
Makes about one cup

1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarse sugar, such as Demerara or turbinado
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup Tellicherry peppercorns
2 tablespoons each fennel and coriander seed
2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon dried minced lemon peel

Put the salt, sugar and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Put the remaining ingredients in a small electric spice grinder or mini food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Dump into the bowl with the salt, and mix until evenly blended. Use about 1 tablespoon per pound of pork, chicken, or beef.

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