Archive for Ingredient Spotlights

Salish smoked alderwood salt is an underused kitchen essential.  What is it, and why really do you need it in your kitchen?

Read on dear foodies for the answer to this burning question….

The coastal Salish, pronounced “SAY’-lish” were an indigenous, native American Indian group of people who are known to be the first inhabitants of the region of the Pacific Northwest, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Strait of Georgia, and Puget Sound, over 8000 years ago. The culture included several different tribes, which continue today to have fishing rights over many areas within the San Juan Islands. The coastal Salish were hunters of both land and sea, and had a large abundance of salmon, shellfish, clams, and water fowl used for consumption and trade. Legends say that every Spring, the Salish welcomed and celebrated the return of the salmon, as a sign of a renewal of the earth.

Salish salt is a dark colored organic artisan sea salt.  Harvested from the seawater of the Salish sea, it is then smoked and infused over Northwest alderwood.  A flavor secret of our favorite Phoenix chef, it is fantastic used as a rub prior to cooking or grilling, as well as a finishing salt. The alder tree wood contributes to a less sweet flavor than fruit woods, similar to hickory, but more intense.

Buy it at your local gourmet spice shop, or order it from Saltworks, Onion Creek Farms, or Salish Sea Salts.

Here are a few ideas to get you rolling:

– it is absolutely awesome on all fish, used as a rub mixed with a small bit of brown sugar
– add as a finishing salt to scrambled eggs, baked potatoes, or corn on the cob
– sprinkle over grilled asparagus
– use it as a rub for barbequed beef skewered kabobs in this recipe from Onion Creek Farms
– try halibut smoked on alderwood via this recipe, thank you SO much Anthony’s Restaurant for sharing!

Halibut Smoked on Alderwood With Salish Salt


2 pounds halibut
4 to 6 Tbsp olive oil
1 dash hickory salt or Salish alder-smoked salt (or plain sea salt)
Beurre Blanc (recipe below)
2 alder planks, 6 x 10 inches each
Diced red peppers and chopped parsley, for garnish

Rub planks lightly with oil. Preheat planks in 400° F oven.

Cut the halibut into 4 to 6 even pieces and rub each with olive oil and salt. Place fillets on planks, skin-side down. Bake at 400° until the internal temperature of the fish reaches 140° F, about 12 minutes.

Remove the fillets and place on plates. Drizzle beurre blanc sauce on each piece. Garnish with red peppers and parsley. Serve with your choice of side dishes.

Beurre Blanc Sauce

• 1-1/2 Tbsp finely minced shallots
• 1/4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 3 Tbsp white wine
• 2 Tbsp whipping cream
• 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/8 tsp kosher salt

Combine shallots, lemon juice, and white wine in a pan and let simmer until reduced by half. Strain.

Return liquid to pan and add cream. Working on and off the heat, add the butter in small pieces and whisk to form an emulsion. Keep warm until ready to use.

Enjoy! And we apologize for our absence, you are so appreciated for sticking by our side! Your loyalty means the world to us.  

xooo hugs, love,  kisses, rainbows and unicorns

Savory Tv

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This may be the most adorable family cooking and gardening video ever.  It’s from our friends at Plum Tv, featuring Martha’s Vineyard Chef Chris Fischer, his Grandfather Ozzie, and their dog.

Wise asparagus words from Ozzie, quite the dapper grandfather:  “Now when you’re raising asparagus, you don’t pick it the first year, the second year, temptation gets too strong, you pick some.  Then the third year you go at it. ”  (Ozzie  is referring to the need of time for the perennial  asparagus root systems to develop and grow, typically they are not fully developed until the third year.  Read more here.)

Ozzie likes creamed asparagus, so chef Chris makes him an improv recipe on the grill.   Quite simply, here is his technique:  Chris washes and salts the freshly picked asparagus stalks, rubs the hot grill with butter, and places the stalks on the grill perpendicular to the grids.  Chris grills some fresh spring garlic stalks, and warms with butter, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and milk, as he also toasts sliced Ciabatta bread to a crispy brown.    The entire mixture of  creamy garlic sauce and asparagus is simply topped onto the grilled bread, as deliciously simple as farm fresh rustic cooking should always be.   Cheers to Plum Tv and Chef Chris, thank you for sharing your recipe and and a taste of family life with us!

For more amazing asparagus chef recipes, don’t miss these:

Cream of Aspragus and Crab Soup from Chef Aaron McCargo Jr
Kurt Gutenbrunner’s White Asparagus With Vinaigrette Recipe
Asparagus with Eggs From Chef Lidia Bastianich
White Asparagus with a Blood Orange Reduction From Chef Cedric Tovar
Truffled Egg Toast with Grilled Asparagus and Fontina Cheese From Chef Marlon Manty

Fennel via Food Thinkers @flickr

Fennel, you’ve may pass it daily in the produce section, but do you know truly what it is, how to choose it, and how to use it?  Surprisingly many foodies and laypeople alike are a bit intimidated by this gorgeous feathery green herb.  Fear not!  Savory Tv is here to help with all you need to know.

Fennel is a light green perennial bulb with stalks similar to celery, feather like thready  green leaves, and flowers.  The flowers produce the seeds that you commonly see in spice bottles.   All of the parts are edible, and the seeds have a distinct anise or licorice type flavor, while the bulbs, stalks, and leaves are a bit more subtle.  A close relation to dill, parsley, and carrots,  fennel contains a significant source of vitamin C, fiber, folate, and several minerals.

In cooking, often the stalks or stems are used in soups or stocks.  The bulbs can be cooked in any number of ways, braised, grilled, sauteed etc., as well as eaten raw.  Braised fennel pairs particularly well with fish or seafood dishes. The tender dill like leaves (sometimes referred to as fronds) can be used as an herb seasoning for almost anything, including meats, seafood, veggies, dressings, dips and sauces.  Fennel can be frozen or dried, but it will lose a large amount of its aromatic flavor in the process, so it’s always a wiser choice to consume it fresh.

How to choose, slice, and prepare it?  We have a great video with Melbourne Chef Shane Delia that will show you how.

We leave you with one last random fennel fact:  In Greek mythology, Atlas’s brother Prometheus, who was a titan, stole fire from Zeus to give to mortals, hiding the fire sparks in a giant stalk of fennel.  In true mythical form, that of course generated huge torturous paybacks from Zeus!   Read the full drama here.

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