Simple things & saffron salt
Things have been busy lately; deadlines have been piling up on each other, there’s a nearly nine month old baby crawling around my ankles and time seems to just slip away without me noticing it’s suddenly September. It’s times like these that I turn to simplicity to get me through the day – choose the simplest route, the simplest option. It’s usually always a good idea.
Take dinner, for example. Believe it or not, despite all the cooking that goes on around here – between the blog, the new weekly column and extra recipe projects, we do cook up a bit of a storm on weekends – sometimes I find it difficult to even find time to feed myself. So I choose the simplest option. An egg. Eggs always save the day when it comes to a quick meal – a frittata or fried, sunny side up is my go-to dinner these days. Add a few things rummaged from the fridge (or now that spring has sprung, picked from the veggie patch outside) – some rocket or spinach, a bit of goat’s cheese if I’m lucky, a sprinkle of saffron salt and there’s dinner (baby version: toast fingers dipped in runny egg yolk or slices of frittata, minus the trimmings).
I like to have something a little nice on hand to make a quick but special addition to an otherwise ordinary meal. That’s where the saffron salt comes in. I first made celery salt, based on this lovely, easy recipe from Heidi Swanson. It’s a great way to use up celery leaves before they become sad and forgotten; I added celery seeds for extra celeriness. Then, since the oven was on, drying things, in went some lemon zest and rosemary for another flavoured salt, a good one for roasts. Then out with the mortar and pestle, to bash things up a little and release aromas, before mixing through some flaky salt to carry it all.
The saffron salt requires a slightly different process. If anything, easier. And prettier. I used a pinch of saffron that I picked up in San Gimignano (Tuscany’s saffron capital) at Fattoria Poggio Alloro, where they grow their own organic saffron. It’s handpicked and dried in whole, gorgeous strands, which is what you’ll need for a salt like this. You want to see the red flecks of those strands in there. Use it on anything.
It’s important to use salt flakes, such as Maldon sea salt or pink-tinged Australian Murray River salt, you will get better results. Don’t use fine table salt for this.
- 2-3 tablespoons flaky salt such as Maldon sea salt or Murray River salt
- A few saffron threads
Grind the saffron threads in a mortar to reduce them to smaller pieces then combine with the salt in a small bowl. Add a few drops of water then mix. You should begin to see the salt staining bright, golden yellow. Add a few more drops of water, then mix again. Once evenly stained, spread the saffron salt out on a board covered with baking paper and allow to air-dry completely before placing in a small bowl for serving or storing in an air tight container.