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Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Salt

My garden is looking just lovely this time of year. I'm harvesting a couple of zucchini and yellow squash every day. the Swiss Chard and Tuscan Kale are growing like mad and I finally have picked enough green beans to serve for dinner tonight! The cherry tomatoes are just starting to ripen. I am looking forward to leaving a salt shaker in the garden for snacking!
This is the second year in a row we have used the "Topsy Turvy" for tomato plants. There is one small tomato on a very stunted plant, so this is probably the last year for tomatoes in that thing! The basil, however, loves the "Topsy Turvy". I harvested quite a bit on Saturday and made a delicious pesto. I was able to freeze some of the pesto for later use in pasta and soup...I love a dollop stirred into soupe au pistou in the fall. Yes, you've had soupe au pistou's a vegetable soup made with a little pasta and beans. I've been making this version for years. The Complete Vegetarian Cuisine by Rose Elliot
Anyhow, I also had about 2 cups of basil leaves and stems left after making pesto, so I used a brand-new-to-me recipe from this month's Food Network Magazine and made some Basil Salt.
It's pretty simple.
Take 1/2 cup of packed basil leaves and pulse in a food processor with 1/2 cup of Kosher salt.
Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and place in a 225 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Stir frequently until it's completely dry.
Cool. Place back in the food processor and pulse until it is a very fine texture.
As you can see in the first photo, I really did follow the directions, but I couldn't bring myself to make all of the salt into dust. I do like a little texture when adding salt for color and flavor!
We tried the more coarse salt on some fresh tomato slices last night and all I can say is, "Oh, my!" It really brought out the delicious flavor of the tomato. I can see that this will get a lot of use in our house! I'm thinking about Pizza Margarita....

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