Salt is the most important ingredient in my kitchen. At any given moment, I have at least five different types on hand—and they each have their place.
There’s fine salt to make pasta water taste of the sea and bring out the flavor of every ingredient throughout the cooking process. There’s wispy flake salt that adds textural pop to finish a dish.
And then there are flavored salts to add a unique flourish to any recipe.
Flavored salts have earned a coveted space in my petite kitchen. Why? With one quick pinch, you can season and spice any dish. If you need to watch your salt intake, flavored salts, particularly the ones with a bright, pungent citrus zest, pack more flavor, pinch for pinch, so you can get away with using a little less.
Flavored salts are ideal for both cooking and finishing. They can easily be made at home to create your own perfect blend. And at this time of year, they make perfect little gifts and stocking stuffers.
Here are a few of my favorites—salts that I use daily. Feel free to adjust these recipes to suit your particular tastes. In all these recipes, I like to use a crisp flake salt, but if you have a favorite salt, feel free to substitute. Just taste and adjust it to your preference, as salt density and salinity vary greatly. Store your salts in an airtight container for up to six months. After that, the spices start to lose their pungency.