One of the easiest ways to elevate your cooking to another level is to use flavored salts, or finishing salts. No recipe needed, really. Flavor + Salt = Flavored Salt. REALLY!!! I know you just had a V-8 moment just now (wow. that sure dates me. does anyone know what i’m talking about?!) My latest crush, Eric Gower the Breakaway Cook, writes extensively about finishing salts on his website and even gives you several flavors to try. I like to use these salts in place of regular salt – the flavor I use is dependent on either the type of dish I’m cooking, the ethnic cuisine or a flavor I would like to infuse in the dish. I call these Finishing Salts because most of the time, its exactly what I use them for.
Sometimes a dish just needs a little color after plating and a finishing salt is the perfect compliment flavor-wise and eye-candy-deliciousness-wise. Learn from professional cooks – who often serve food on white dinnerware – and sprinkle a little of your Finishing Salt directly on the food AND the plate. The vibrant colors are shown off against the white and your dinner guests can dab as much as or as little of the salt as they wish. You can make a batch for less than $1….or you could go to a gourmet shop and spend $12 for an itty bitty jar.
Szechuan Peppercorn Salt
Dry-roasted Szechuan or Sichuan Peppercorn + food processor to grind the peppercorn + sea salt. It’s spelled Sichuan nowadays, but for some reason I’ve always spelled it Szechuan. Anyways, spell how you like.
>>Edit: more detailed instructions: I roasted SZP in a hot, dry skillet until smoking but not burnt. Let that cool a little bit. Dump in food processor to grind to same size as your salt. Then you add your salt and pulse a just couple of times to fully incorporate the flavors together. I like my S&P a little chunky and not like a fine powder. I used equal amts of SZP and sea salt. You can adjust based on your tastes. If you are using a very fine sea salt or just regular table salt, decrease the amt of salt.
Szechuan Peppercorn is really not a peppercorn at all – its a berry from a bush that will make your tongue and lips tingle and numb when you eat them. Yes, its legal. No, you can’t snort it. When you dry-roast the peppercorns, your entire house will smell heavenly…woodsy, citrusy, earthy…so incredibly aromatic that Chef Kylie Kwong perfumes her restaurant daily with a hot, smoking, dry wok of roasted peppercorns. Add to any dish that needs a little kick in the pants. Cooking Chinese? Sprinkle some Szechuan Peppercorn Salt to finish any dish. I also love seasoning my steaks with this instead of the standard salt & pepper prior to grilling. This can also serve as a dipping salt for fried shrimp.
Fushia Dunlop even recommends using this combination on potato chips! Make them yourself (its very simple with a mandoline) and flavor with SZP Salt while they are hot. Or, dump a bag of your favorite plain chips onto a baking sheet + 375 F for 5 minutes, remove and sprinkle with SZP Salt. Ohhh…how about french fries with SZP Salt at your next dinner party? Nothing like watching the reaction of your guests as their lips tingle and they discover a new taste. You can buy Szechuan peppercorn at your local Chinese market or at Whole Spice, iGourmet, GetSpice (UK), Spice Barn and Spicehouse
When you get your SZP, take a couple of pods and chew – the tip of your tongue will go tingly! Cooking the SZP tames the pepperyness and the numbing quality.
Grated orange peel + grated lemon peel + let the citrus peels dry a little bit on a paper towel + sea salt Think bright, cheery and light. Finish your shrimp skewers, any vegetables, grilled chicken breasts, grilled salmon with Citrus Salt. Lighten your risotto or steamed rice with Citrus Salt. I’ll be posting soon on a recipe I created, Panko-Crusted Grouper Cheeks with Japanese-Style Risotto and Citrus Salt. Long, fancy name for fish ‘n rice, I know. I need to shorten the name…just sounds too restaurant-y.
Matcha is Japanese green tea powder made from the highest quality of green tea leaves. Its a stunning and lovely mossy color which makes such a pretty finishing salt, especially if you use a white plate and also sprinkle some directly on the plate. Matcha powder + sea salt + couple pulses in food processor if you are using course sea salt You know what is so totally divine? Your favorite chocolate truffle or chocolate bar + dip in Matcha Salt. So very different! Eric Gower pairs it with eggs and tofu. Use with dishes that are light in texture and flavor, since this salt’s flavor is more delicate and subtle. It gives a beautiful floral, grassy, sweet and soothing aroma. You can buy Matcha powder at your local Asian market. Sometimes coffee/tea shops will carry as well. This is not the same as green tea leaves. Ask specifically for Matcha powder. Its a little expensive. I paid $7.50 for 1.4 oz jar at a Japanese market in Los Angeles (which will last me a long time as I only used about� 1 teaspoon in my mixture). Don’t get the super-premium stuff, it would be a waste to use the expensive powder for the salts. Buy online at Amazon (this is the brand I got). Use your leftover powder to make green tea ice cream. I have all three sitting patiently waiting for my next cooking adventure….you guys have any ideas for other flavors? What would you do with Chocolate Salt?
Hey first time here at your wonderful blog. I was wondering where you picked up the black ingredient cups? They are beautiful!
I got those from a Japanese department store in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. It was either Uyeda or Muji.
I made sriracha bacon salt. Tastes like meaty garlic. awesome on popcorn
sriracha bacon salt sounds fantastic. can you please tell me how you make it. How long will it stay? please eemail to aparna_philip@yahoo. com
I just bumped into your site….love it…love it…love it! I am so excited to start making things… I have a question–have you got a recipt for green tea peppercorn seasoning. Tastefully simple used to make it and I am trying to figure out the recipe. It is sweet and spicy and it has demerara sugar along with spicy szp. I just love it on everything–you have any ideas? thank you again for this lovely site!
Aloha from Honolulu. I’m a salt-making hobbyist. Anyone have a technique to prevent caking in homemede sea salt? My salt doesn’t present the crystal structure. Mahalo!
Try drying it in the oven. When it is dried well, put it in the food processor for a few whirls. Although, since you are in humid Hawaii the salt might still cake. Just give the container a few good hard shakes before using.
I’ve just made passion fruit salt. very nice too
all these salt are made by combining dry ingredient, but what about moist ones….?
i’ve just done a batch of raspberry and chili, simply amazing flavor.
my technic is the mix raspberry, chili, salt, AND water… blend and finally filter.
pour it in a tray and let it evaporate to create salt crystal.
if anyone have any advise to improve it i’m all ears.
@Jonathan: Great idea to add wet ingredients. I made a chili lime salt using ground chilis and lime zest but it didn’t have the limey flavour I was after. I’m going to spread on a try, add lime juice and let it all dry. Can’t see why it wouldn’t work!
I was just wondering if you have ever made Tomato Cheese Salt before. I wanted to try and make a tomato based salt flavor so I was thinking of Tomato Cheese or Tomato Mint. Any tips on how I can go about doing this? I have Tomato powder, mint powder and cheese.
Vanilla flavoured salt is actually very good! A pinch in dark chocolate desserts, or sprinkled on sweet fruit like mango ðŸ™‚
your recipes are lovely! Can I ask if you think that a big grain salt would be suitable for these recipes, or is it better to use a small grain salt? Consider I will use food processor as you suggested
I love using kosher salt – it’s inexpensive and larger grain than regular table salt, which gives it a nice feel.
Can’t find the grouper cheeks recipe – did you post it?
Hello! I love this post and really helpful and inspiring. I added this page to my recent blog posting as a wonderful reference. Thank you so much! xo, Bee at notadietstory
I want to make rosemary salt. Can I use fresh rosemary, or should I get dried rosemary?
What an eye opening post! I love flavored salts and use them everyday but I never thought about making my own. You have just opened up a whole new dimension to my cooking. Thanks!
I love the little pinch bowls with the pouring lip in your pictures! Can you tell me where you found them or at least what brand they are?
What a great idea: the lapshong-souchon (sp) tea for salt!
Made a batch of Myer lemon salt today – yum
Made rosemary then at last added 2 colors of flower: lots of them! Pretty and tasty~
Oh wonderful…love meyer lemons. I can imagine how beautiful the salts would be with flower petals too.
I bought a finishing salt once that had smoked paprika and dried chives in it. I make it myself now and it’s just as good. It works well on vegetables, potatoes, just about anything to be honest.
some of the salts that I’ve been making lately include a green chili salt made from dehydrating Harli-gen peppers, citric acid, and kosher salt. or dehydrate olive juice and mix it with a bit of pink sea salt. candied orange peel salt and even a Durian salt which is rather an acquire taste.
Love your SZP Humor!!!!!
I am looking for salt that is flavored with smoke. I have a hickory smoked salt but I wanted to know if there were others OR if it were possible to make it myself.
Yes, you can smoke your own salt- I’ve done it. Try instructables.com to make your own cold home smoker or try hot smoke. The cold smoke is a better idea.
To hot smoke at home: Place you salt in a metal disposable pan on the right side of your BBQ. Get a fire on the left going and add your flavor wood. You need to Ultimately your trying for a long slow smoke over a few hours. I have a real smoker in my back yard and when I do the meat- I do some salt at the same time.
For those who live in the New York City area, we are fortunate to have an excellent and inexpensive source for matcha tea powder, lavender buds, and everything in between: Kalustyans’s (as seen on Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’).
I first made flavored salts years ago as part of a homemade Christmas gift basket for fellow foodies, and love the new ideas here. Instead of macarons, I think I’ll first try green tea truffles with matcha salt. Thank you!
mmm I thank you for your post, I’ve spent a year on trying to make salt (I only made a mess and yes a year). I stumbled upon your blog thanks for the simple answer I greatly over looked, finally my chips can reach their full potential.
Cilantro, lime, finely ground sea salt (regular salt was too much bite).
1 pkg. corn or flour tortillas (corn are lower in fat than flour)
Cut stack of tortillas into 8 wedges each. Spread wedges in a single layer on baking sheet. Sprinkle with seasoning and salt. Bake at 375 degrees about 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. Make sure you watch them closely. You do not want them too brown. Store in an air tight container. When serving, freshen the chips in the microwave about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Let sit about 5 to 10 minutes before eating so they can harden and cool.
Makes 200 chips
it’s like enjoying a margharita in a chip….I also like to use these chips in a fruity salsa. ^_^ Enjoy and thanks for the help.
Do you use the both Szechuan peppercorn husks and seeds or just the seeds or just the husks?
Two common salts that I use at work are Lemon Rosemary, and pink and dried porcini mushroom Salt. The Lemon Rosemary I use on Lamb shanks but would be good on any cut of lamb. The other I use on beef. Wonderful on nice dry aged steaks. Sometimes I make a Lemon, pink pepper corn salt that I use on seared scallops.
I recently spent some time in Japan, where I was served some lovely homemade fried chicken sprinkled with what my hostess called ‘rose salt.’ This salt definitely tasted of roses and I don’t think was just rose-colored salt. Has anyone heard of this or know where I could find it in the States? It was delicious!
Make it the same way you would with the citrus salt described above. Roses are an edible flower that can be made into many things including jam. Rose jam is excellent, you should use red or pink because the color is stunning, but white will work as well. Cut the petals off above the white on the bulb and dry. Grind to desired texture and blend with salt in a processor.
Does anyone know precise directions for making truffle salt? I have around 2 dozen black summer truffles and over half a dozen fine salts. I would like to make truffle salts for my friends.
There are practically no references that I can find. One obscure reference I did find says some time back said the truffles must be dried, which makes sense, but on the other hand, I am told the truffles lose their aroma when dried. Should the truffles be powdered or finely grated? The truffles are so expensive that I don’t feel like experimenting too much.
hi steamy- yes, just like lyn, i made flavored salt (szp + salt) as gifts to family and friends last Christmas. They all loved it!! I also tried your roasted chicken (but with lemon, instead of orange), it was great! Keep on steamin’…by the way, i love your pictures.
I have heard of a cafe that makes it own chicken flavoured salt using the juices of their cooked chickens. Any ideas of how to do that at home?
Akin to matcha — if you get some nice high-quality lapsang souchoung tea leaves and grind it to a very fine powder, it makes for a lovely addition to spice rubs and such. I imagine a lapsang souchoung salt could be a lovely, smokey deep flavour boost.
Absolutely lovely pictures and presentation of the flavored salts. I’m new here also, and I’m going to try this really soon. Although I have a really nice salt mix I put on homemade tortilla chips.
im a new reader and i love ur tips! i dont know if i can find the same stuff here but wow thats awesome ideas id love to try out. keep up the great job!! ðŸ˜‰
I just discovered you wonderful blog with the beautiful pictures! I’ve been making my own flavored salts (szp, lemon, lavendar, rosemary, vanilla salts) but never would I have thought of matcha salt…can’t wait to make it!
Those are wonderful! And I got to have a head-slapping V-8 moment as well.
Chocolate salt? Dude — caramel! Homemade caramel. Yeah.
I just picked up Eric Gower’s new cookbook at the bookshop this week and read abt his flavoured salts. Was tempted to get it and now my hand is itching with this reference abt flavoured salts. His first book was very good but this one looks much better.
On salts, I’ve also made green tea salt before and sprinkled it on top of grilled scallops. Quite subtle the taste since green tea is not very overpowering. Will try and experiment with lavender salt which is one of Eric Gower’s suggested flavours in the book.
My name is Lincoln, I and my partner Clo Dimet, we have two restaurants in São Paulo – Brazil and a school of Kitchen, also we write our Blog for our friends and customers we like it its Blog and we would like to translate some texts for the Portuguese, would be possible?
Jaden, I make my own sauce, but forgot how easy it is to make finishing salt. Thanks for all the ideas ! :)) I was thinking pairing chocolate salt, coke, and maltose rub over some meaty ribs for BBQ grill ? hehe ðŸ™‚
Love these ideas! Especially the matcha salt… Uhm, let me think of how I can utilise these…
Well, big boys alway tell the truth and never lies!
Ellie-You’ll have to post your photos and recipes….let me know when they are up
Creative Loafing- Thank you for supporting my little adventure. You guys are awesome….bringing you some food maybe on Thurs.
Big Boys- you guys just make me smile every time you comment. I LOVE bigboys + I love ovens, so therefore I love you guys.
Lizzy- isn’t so grand to love something so simple as salt?!
Lucy- I can’t wait until you try it on carrots. Love your site, it inspires me to eat more healthy.
Sandi- thanks for coming by….please come back soon!
Jaden, I think I’d actually use fresh – the oils are just that little bit fresher, and though the salt would probably turn out a slightly unattractive shade of green, it would taste wonderful!
On carrots? Too gorgeous.
This is awesome – my mom just gave me some Italian salt that is divine. These look great as well and what a great addition to any meal. Great information!
So luvly done, and yet so refreshing….!
You know how to make me laugh over your writing. ……a very unique way style of writing.
What a great idea! I’m going to have to try this out, and I can already imagine what I’d use each of these three salts for ðŸ˜€
Dawn- I think I have a love affair with salt! Yes indeed it affects cooking. Now I need to figure out a way to lighten and flavor soy sauce, as that is my primary “salt” in Asian cooking but it is sometimes too overpowering.
Cynthia- oooohhhh…..chilli salt!!
Lucy- I just had the citrus salt over roasted carrots – it was a perfect combo. Left you a msg re: rosemary/citrus salt…though do you think the rosemary will discolor? Would you use dried rosemary?
Jaden, such a beautiful gift idea.
Citrus salt – got myself a little weekend project now!
This is a great idea. I already do some like a red chilie salt, cumin salt, black peppercorn salt and I do a vanilla sugar with vanilla bean. Thanks for your ideas – citrus zest etc. I’ll definitely make them and also experiement with other flavours.
Your pics are so classy.
Really great Pics!
Love the colors of the salt as well. It is really amazing how much salt can change your cooking!
Steve- actually, I LOVE Old Bay…
Amy- I’m going to have to try that on Fried Chicken…although I make mine baked fried chicken…or I could just do KFC takeout!
Carol- Thank you! LOL! Yes, you finally came through!
W&S- Matcha tastes like…um….hmm….I’m just going to have to send you some.
ilingc- With my rasp grater it only took about 30 seconds per fruit. One orange and one lemon is what I used. If you use a nice sharp grater, it should take no time at all.
SGC- Oh it was a commercial for V8 vegetable juice in the early 80’s where the guy in the commercial always slaps his forehead….I know…dumb…but it worked b/c 20 years later I still remember that damn commercial!
Lisa – you and I are the ONLY ones old enough to remember!! LOL
I guess I’m dating myself, but when you wrote V-8, I slapped my forehead. Wow indeed! The matcha salt sprinkled on chocolate is a wonderful idea. The possibilities are endless!
I’ll be back for more tips =D
What’s a V8?
Ok, I have to ask…You have soooo many different bowls, plates, cups, glasses, etc. Where in the heck to you store these?
These salts look wonderful. I’ve done something similar with sugars. ðŸ™‚
Jaden, It looks like you zested a whole lot of lemons from the look of that bowl of lemon salt. Boy are you patient. I get frustrated trying to zest 1 tbsp of lemon zest as it is.
Have you tried sprinkling or mixing some szp salt on the dusting flour for fried chicken? It makes some pretty awesome fried chicken, gives it a nice little kick.
ps. Love the photo of the salt bowls all lined up and the szechuan peppers photo.
I’m too lazy to make salts as well but those photos were really inspiring! I’m not sure what the Matcha salt will taste like but it sounds like it will go well with a nice chocolate mousse!
Sorry Jaden, I’m just making up for all the times my comment vanished into thin air. We’re back in business! Uber Cool Post!
yay! wordpress doesn’t hate me anymore! I was starting to feel quite rejected!
OMG! my comment actually went through!
Such Beautiful Photography, Jaden!
This is a great idea! I love the sichuan peppercorn salt. It sounds really good on fried chicken. ðŸ˜›
It’s sort of embarrassing to admit, since it’s not nearly as fashionable as the salts you made (and in fact it’s a little too Sandra Lee), but I like to mix kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and Old Bay seasoning, and then dip hard boiled eggs in that.
LOL, we did both have matcha and chocolate on our minds! Love the salts. I blend salt and lavendar together for turkey and game birds. SO YUMMY!
Lynn- great idea to give as gifts in little jars
Lucy- i find most of my little pots, dishes and pans at Japanese kitchen supply stores. everytime i go home to visit parents in California, i add more to my collection
Evinrude- yes it is the same
Tigerfish- thank you! i think the matcha salt would go well with your soba and meatballs dish
Kim- wow, I would never have thought to use hibiscus! that sounds sooooo lovely. I’ll have to search for a tea shop nearby to source dried hibiscus….or just be crude and buy a box of nice hibiscus tea and just use that.
JEP & V- thank you!
Sue Ann- POPCORN!!!! Thats healthy and lo-cal, right?
I think that the chocolate salt would be divine on popcorn! I also agree that the finishing salts would make great gifts for many occasions. BEAUTIFUL PICTURES!
Totally love your tip on various flavored salts!!!
Really enjoy reading & learning from your blog!
Thank you for posting these recipes because you reminded me that I must make my own. Instead of homemade jams, giving your own flavored salts will be valued as an original party favor or a hostess gift.
I often buy flavored sea salts. Like you said, Jaden, they are great for plating a dish. They can enhance the flavor of a simple recipe. I use hibiscus sea salt with grilled asparagus and pine nuts. The color combination is stunning and it tastes great.
I never dream of making my own flavored salts. And absolutely a brilliant idea ðŸ™‚
This is so clever! I’m definitely gonna try it soon. Sounds good sprinkled over some salad or noodles. =) Anyway, is the SZP salt what we call Hua Jiao Yan ????? in Mandarin? Singaporean restaurants use it a lot with chicken or duck roasted to a crisp. Mm~!
Very nice idea, Jaden, I especially like the idea of perfuming the house with roasted szechuan peppercorns when cooking Chinese for guests. Hmmm. Getting some ideas here. Love the pots. Giving these as gifts is also a really great idea!
Beautiful post and the idea of making your own flavored salts is wonderful. I know what my friends are getting for Christmas this year!
GC- thank you!
MrsHBT & Suganya – I’ve just added a link for Matcha resource.
Melinda- Yeah, but I can barely say it in one breath!
wmw- but I’m not worthy of your beautiful photography!! ðŸ˜‰
Lydia- wow, rosemary & lemon salt would be so good on fish.
Ari- the matcha salt is my favorite color…its just such a unique color of green that I can never get from any vegetable on a finished dish.
Dilip- thank you! good luck on your Feed A Hungry Child Project.
Ninja- A flavored salt would taste and look really good with your gnocchi. Oh and just going through your site – Saffron & Cardamom Salt would be yum…
great ideas. Never thought of that. Thanks for the tips. ðŸ™‚
great post…brilliant…many thanks for the learning experince
This is such a neat post Jaden! I love the idea and the colors on those salts are gorgeous.
Wow, I’d never have thought of matcha salt! I have made pepper salt with Szechuan peppercorns, and lately I’ve been using a sea salt made by a Rhode Island artist who combines it with lemon zest and herbs from his garden (mostly rosemary) — it’s amazingly good on mild fish like cod, and on roasted vegetables like fennel. Thanks for the inspiration about matcha salt — I will definitely try it.
Gosh, you make your own salt? (well, not really from scratch…but your own finishing salt???) How cool is that! Makes me wanna chant “I’m not worthy” to you! ROFL….
Such good ideas and suggestions. Love the long named fish and rice dish with the citrus salt. You are very clever.
My question is same as mrshbt’s.. Where do i get Matcha powder? In Oriental stores? The other two salts are so doable. Thanks for sharing this with us. Did I say I love yr photos?
Where can I buy Matcha powder in the US?