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.

Saffron salt

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
  • water

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.


  1. Valeria says:

    I turn to eggs too. Like when I came back from a weekend in Paris and I made roasted broccoli frittata – I still remeber it. Eggs keep well and cook quick. Nothing works best – there is not plan-ahead required, which is what I am mostly lacking at.
    I should really push myself to make these aromatised salts sooner rather than later – I have saffron and I usually have celery. Do you have a magic spell to chase laziness? :))

    • Emiko says:

      I remember that post, I loved the look of that roasted broccoli frittata – that’s the perfect dinner for me! These salts are so fun to make and they are also nice gifts too – and they’re extremely low maintenance to make/keep so should be good for those lazy moments! 🙂

  2. I really enjoy making my own salts, and so I can’t wait to try this saffron salt!

  3. Beautiful salts, Emiko. That saffron salt is just too pretty!

  4. Wow I have never made my own Salt before and this looks really tempting. Will try it.

  5. Wow, what an interesting idea. I will try this. Thank you for sharing!

  6. eggs are the ultimate fast food aren’t they! I do love flavoured salts as well, I love salt full stop. But recently I got a few bags of single origin peppercorns and I was amazed by the difference in flavour pepper can have. I’m now a bit geeky when it comes to pepper just as I am with salt. I use Maldon salt of course, cos we get a whole supply each FBC, but my favourite is Cornish sea salt; it has a perfect ballance of salty and the aroma of a seabreeze in Cornwall.
    Love the look of your salts!

    • Emiko says:

      Oh my, single origin peppercorn, I’ve yet to experience that but it does sound rather intriguing. Good salt makes such a difference, doesn’t it?

  7. Debra says:

    Ironically, I am “the saffron girl” and have never made saffron salt (or any other flavoured salts, for that matter)! I love how pretty and easy it is. I just discovered your site from a most unusual source: The Lonely Planet, Florence! And I immediately signed up to not miss a post of your beautiful food and photography…. on another note: eggs are my go-to easy meal as well. When I am feeling lazy or don’t want to be cooking a more complex meal, eggs make such an easy dish alone or scrambled with anything. We call it “revuelto” in Spain and the only ingredient mandatory is the egg, the rest is up to one’s pantry, taste and imagination. 😉 And the best part: they are so healthy!

  8. Saltpur says:

    Fried Egg is my every morning brunch for more than a year till I have started the workout. My nutritionists advised me to take proper diet and Eggs are the best meal when it comes to nutritions.

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