Monday, August 3, 2009

Fresh Basil Salt

At the farmers’ market on Sunday we purchased so much lettuce from a new vendor that they gave us a free container of basil. We had to accept the basil, who would say no to a nice gesture. The only problem is that I grow my own basil so I didn’t need it. I stared at the basil today and couldn’t decide what to do with it. Then I remembered that I had wanted to make fresh basil salt but never got around to it. It would have been nice to have a recipe, but that never stopped me before so I jumped right in. What is the worst thing that could happen? Surely making basil salt had to be similar to making truffle salt, which was ridiculously easy.

I tossed the basil in the food processor and added kosher salt and turned on the processor. I had to pulse the processor a few times at the end but the basil did give up and become fully ground and incorporated into the salt. The salt became the most beautiful shade of emerald green. I tasted the salt and it was definitely both “basily” (new word I just made up) and “salty”. The only issue was that the salt was a little too damp. Not knowing what else to do I spread that salt out on a silpat lined half sheet pan and put the tray into the oven on low (150 degrees). Within 5 minutes of putting the salt in the oven the most wonderful basil smell came wafting out of the kitchen. I knew immediately something good was happening in the oven.

I waited an hour to check the salt for dampness, because it was like wet sand going in to the oven. I checked again at the two hour mark and it wasn’t quite dry, but it was close. But it was 11 pm so it was time for bed. I turned off the oven and went to bed. In the morning when I got up the salt had miraculously dried out completely. The beautiful emerald green had turned to an army green, but the smell was still intoxicating. I used the silpat to funnel the little salt clumps into a mortar and pestle and within 15 second most of the lumps were gone. Now all I need to find in a shaker top jar to put the salt in.

Basil Salt
makes about 1/3 of a cup


1 cup of fresh packed basil
1/3 cup of kosher salt


Process the basil and salt in your food processor until the basil is thoroughly ground. The resulting salt will be a bright vibrant green. Place the salt on a silpat lined baking sheet and cook in your oven at 150 degrees for at least an hour. After an hour test for to see if the salt has lost all its moisture or it if needs additional time in the oven. If it is still moist continue to cook until it is dry. My salt was in the oven on 150 degrees for 2 hours and then overnight in the oven that was turned off. If the salt dries in a clump break it up in your food processor or a mortar and pestle and store in an airtight jar.


The aroma from the salt is fantastic. It reminds me of a basil version of celery salt. I used this salt this morning on my fresh tomatoes and enjoyed the nice basil aroma without having to go out into the yard for the fresh leaves. Making this fresh herb salt was so easy I will definitely be making more versions of salt while my garden is still so abundant with herbs.

1 comment:

  1. try this with purple, lemon, or pesto basil!!! all look different and taste great!!


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