A Powerful Pinch

Trying out newly certified kosher products… it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it, right?  I love finding products that have a story behind them.  I found out about Urban Sproule from the O-U Kosher list of newly certified products.  I contacted Sarah Sproule, the founder of the company.  She actually grew up in Tucson, AZ!  Sarah sent samples of five of her products, which include sea salts and infused salts. 

Sarah was running cooking demos at Union Square Greenmarket when she came up with the idea for the Rooftop & Raw Sea Salt.  She is passionate about knowing where each ingredient she uses comes from, including fruits, vegetables and dairy products.  Salt, however, even though so widely used in cooking, did not really have the same kind of locally sourced availability.  The salts she makes come from water harvested by local fisherman off the coast of Montauk, Long Island.  The salts are made with the help of mother nature… on a rooftop in Manhattan, with sun and wind used to dry out the salts.  Quite ingenious and resourceful!

When you open a vial of salt, whether infused or virgin sea salt, the aroma is so unexpected and pleasant.  I had never really thought of salt as having a specific smell, but if it’s fresh and pure, instead of overly processed, then it should have a nice fresh, ocean-y kind of scent.  Logan and I even tried some of the salts right out of the bottles, including the Celery Sea Salt and Lemon Verbena Sea Salt.  

I am in love with the Grilled Ramps Sea Salt.  I have used it for so many different things, including sprinkled on steamed vegetables, in an omelet and on bruschetta, to name a few.  Ramps are in the onion family, and look somewhat like green onions or leeks.  Below are some of the ideas I came up with.  Handmaker’s Executive Chef Alan Sanchez is going to play around in the kitchen with the flavors, including the Thai Chili Sea Salt, so watch for a future posting with Chef Alan’s recipes!

Roasted Vegetables

I marinated vegetables (zucchini, Mexican grey squash, crookneck squash, red bell peppers, orange bell peppers and tomatoes) in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Grilled Ramps Sea Salt.  The infused sea salt added a nice herby, peppery flavor. 

Bruschetta with vegetables, cheese and lemon verbena sea salt

Bruschetta is toasted sliced bread, which can be topped with a variety of items, included vegetables, a spread or a tapenade.  I sliced a whole wheat baguette, toasted both sides, then topped the slices with roasted red pepper, fresh basil, Asiago cheese and Lemon Verbena Sea Salt.  The citrus note of the salt was a nice balance to the flavors.

Special Rice

There is a Guatemalan restaurant in Tucson, called Maya Quetzal.  They serve what they call “special rice” as a side dish, which is a cheesy, gooey rice.  I have yet to find a recipe for it, but I make my own version, with brown rice, corn, black beans and cheddar cheese.  This batch also included sauteed red peppers.  I added the Virgin Sea Salt.  I didn’t need much, because the salt is rich and flavorful on its own. 

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