Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fresh Ground Spice Blends

In Harris-Teeter's new Wellness brochure, Chef Phil gives a recipe for an amazingly good spice blend.

Now, you know I didn't make mine using HT's pricey little jars, but I did have enough bulk spices left to make one recipe's worth. He suggests using it on poultry, omelets, and steamed veggies.
His best idea is to put the whole batch in an extra peppermill, grinding as
needed. I may hunt down a few extra peppermills for other custom blends.

Spice Blend:
1 cup fennel seeds
3 Tbsp. coriander seeds
2 Tbsp. mixed peppercorns
3 Tbsp. sea salt
Combine and mix well. Transfer to a peppermill and use it to season liberally.


Laura Talbert said...

May I show my ignorance ask you a question that I have had... what is the deal with sea salt? How is different than table salt? How/why is it better?

I have pity on me Meredith...=)

Meredith said...

Okay, here's what I've been able to decipher since "sea salt" became as trendy as salsa in the early 90's. It is the same chemical substance as table salt, only without the added iodine. It is actually distilled from sea water and is purported to have more flavor and/or trace minerals from the sea. You can buy it in different sizes--either the table salt crystals to the large, Kosher salt style chunks.
In this recipe, I think the chef means to use the chunkier sea salt, which would then be freshly ground in the peppermill. Another food writer once explained that when you use the coarsely ground sea salt instead of table salt, rather than having the salt evenly distributed through the food, you hit pockets of salt that dissolve with a desirable burst of flavor in your mouth.

Salt itself is cheap, but sea salt is one of those "gourmet" ingredients that's not priced too high in its basic form. I bought a canister of Cerulean Seas Coarse Sea Salt as much for its beautiful label as the taste. I think it cost $1.09 for 14 ounces.

Anonymous said...

i buy my sea salt in bulk from the local food co-op group. Last year ordered 11 pounds at $1.09/lb. Surprise, it was 11 small bags. I still have half, and gave some at Christmas too. Will never go back to Morton's. It is true about the burst of flavor. Sea salt is worth it's reputation.