Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Flor de sal caseiro com aipo

Up until recently I thought celery salt was made from ground celery seeds, and indeed I am sure it can be.But how lovely it is to make your own and being of peaceful mind that you know exactly what is going into it unlike some of the branded varieties that will be loaded with additives.That´s assuming the labels inform you of exactly what the particular product contains.Where have I heard that story recently?
What?- I hear you all say, you mean there’s more in celery salt than just celery and salt?
Well, unless you are buying artisan celery salt, then the salt in your celery salt could have any of the following in it:
  • sugar
  • sodium silicoaluminate (ugh – aluminum??)
  • dextrose (why is there sugar in salt??)
  • sodium bicarbonate
There must be a catch to making your own. It can´t be that simple, you will now be saying.Well yes there is one small catch.It has to be made with fresh leaves cut from the main head of the celery. You have to find celery with leaves still intact, (post  23/02/2013) which,if its fresh it should have.You are more likely have more luck at the farmers' market, but I have recently  noticed more and more supermarkets here in Portugal sparing leaves. See if you can get your supermarket to source some. Also, leaves hide. You'll find more and more as you work your way in from the outside stalks to inside ones.You can make your celery salt with a number of different types of salt,but nothing beats the flaky whispers of the blossoms of Flor de sal.These can be found with slightly less purity in Maldon sea salt.These shards are similar in size to the crumbled celery leaves you have dried, which works beautifully. With some of the finer sea salts, you get more separation. This is not the result you want to achieve.Convinced?-I think you will be.So now are you ready to make your very own celery salt? Here is how simple it is to make.

Leaves from one bunch of celery                                                                            Flaky shards of sea salt 

Pick the leaves from each celery stalk, leaving the stems behind. The outer leaves tend to be dark green and hearty, the inner leaves pale green and tender. I use them all.
Rinse the leaves with cold water in a strainer, then shake off as much of the water as you can. At this point you want to dry the leaves as much as possible, so they toast (not steam) when you cook them. Gently pat them dry in a clean cloth towel, or paper towels. Once dry arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then bake in a 350F / 180C oven for about 5-7 minutes. Bake until dehydrated and crispy, but not browned.You could also do this in a dry skillet over a very low heat, but once again be very careful not to brown them.
In either case, when you're done cooking, remove from heat and let the leaves cool completely. They'll crisp up even more at this point. When cool, use your fingers to crumble the leaves completely, discarding any leaves that aren't crispy,or are brown.
Combine equal parts celery leaves and salt in a jar, and either stir or shake to distribute the celery leaves evenly throughout.
Prep time: 5 min - Cook time: 5 min
I would like to make other artesan salts - a mixed citrus version comes to mind. Also, one with herbs de Provence. Hook me up with other ideas if you've got them. I'm sure I'm not the only one game for trying out new salts.

All I need now is vodka,tomato juice and.....  you can see were this is going.

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