Salt has been such a staple ingredient in cooking since time immemorial that it actually almost occupies a category of its own. It can have a more or less obvious presence fulfilling different functions, but it is rare that we do not use it. To get more out of it, we can personalize it with aromas, for example by preparing a fabulous citrus salt to enrich many dishes.
We already know that there are different types of salt although none is healthier than another, with the exception of reduced sodium salt for those with specific nutritional needs. Yes there are different origins, formats and qualitiesbeing the flower of sea salt or in scales one of the most noble and appreciated.
To prepare our citrus salt we recommend using a good quality salt, preferably unrefined, coarse-textured but delicate, like the aforementioned flower of salt, Maldon type or, better, some local one from national salt flats. We want a condiment to use at the momentas a dressing when serving, although it can also be used for cooking.
In addition to salt, we need the dry skin of various fruits, depending on their size, the amount of salt we want to prepare and the potency we are looking for. The ratio we recommend as a base guide is about 5-10 g dried and ground citrus peel (approximately a heaping tablespoon) for every 120-150 g of salt. From there, it’s a matter of testing and tweaking.
Citrus skin should be completely dry before grinding
Here’s how to prepare citrus orange salt, but the process would be the same with other fruits such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, yuzu or tangerine. It is essential that the skin is aromatic, preferably without shiny wax coatings and that is very dry. To achieve this, we can use the traditional method, leaving the peels hanging for several days in the air, or use a dehydrator or the oven.
As we have mentioned, the first thing is to collect the citrus skin and dry it almost completely. It should be crispy if folded and not release any droplets of juice or liquid. We will not be able to weigh the total amount of skin until it has dried, so it is advisable to use the multi-piece shells of fruit.
The first step is to wash, dry and peel the skin of the oranges, trying to do not take much white part, although nothing happens if it is cut a little. If there is time, it is only necessary to hang the skins in the air in a cool and ventilated place, receiving sunlight if possible, until dry. They can also be left on kitchen paper in the sun, or on a gentle heat source such as a radiator or fireplace.
To speed up the process you can use a dehydratorfollowing the manufacturer’s instructions, or the ovenat about 90-100ºC, being very careful that it does not burn, and allowing it to cool completely before using.
Once the skins are dry, crush or grind with a food processor, mortar, spice or coffee grinder -we used this one- or food processor, until leaving a texture like fine powderonly with small bumps if you want a more rustic texture.
Combine with the salt in the desired amounts, stirring well until completely incorporated, adding the citrus dressing slowly as we see fit. Store in an airtight container and away from light, humidity or heat sources.
Another option possible is to grate the skin of the fruit with a grater type zester o Microplane, combine with the salt and dry together in the oven at 100º C for about 60-70 minutes, until completely dry.
In which recipes and dishes to use citrus salt
It depends a bit on what citrus fruits we have used to flavor the salt, although they are all very similar and versatile in their possibilities, considering that orange and tangerine will be somewhat sweeter. We can use it to do vinaigrettes and dressings of salads or vegetables, to enrich sauces, a mayonnaise, a curry or prepare marinades, both meat and fish. It will also give us very special results in salt recipes, dry brines and BBQ dressings.
It’s perfect for season raw and at the moment the same pieces of freshly made meat, fish and vegetable proteins, to give another touch to the Toasted with oil or avocado toast and other variants, or flavor appetizers and snacks such as chips. We can also use it for certain cocktails, ceviches, fruit salads, desserts with caramel, dulce de leche or chocolate, ice cream, etc.
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