Cooking Class: A grain of salt

Try the following fall recipes using one of the hottest trends in home gourmet cooking – quality sea salt.

Roasted red onions (photo credit: Kfir Harbi)
Roasted red onions
(photo credit: Kfir Harbi)
Salt of the Earth has been Israel’s leading salt producer since 1922. In recent years, the company started producing quality gourmet salt from the Red Sea.
The new salt formulas are designed to meet the needs of today’s home gourmet cooks and also offers low-sodium salts for those watching their sodium intake. The company promotes the use of the lower sodium salt among food companies.
The Red Sea salt is produced naturally from the clear waters of the Red Sea, offering exciting new flavored and different- textured gourmet salts, available in most food shops.
The following recipes were created by two leading Israeli chefs, using the Salt of the Earth salts. Any salt mentioned in the article may be replaced by low-sodium salt.
Chef Amit Dahan suggests adding home roasted salty pecans to sweet buns for a perfect match.
✔ 1⁄2 kg. bread flour ✔ 1⁄2 sachet dry yeast ✔ 250 ml. lukewarm milk ✔ 20 gr. salt ✔ 30 gr. sugar ✔ 200 gr. butter, at room temperature ✔ 2 eggs ✔ 1⁄2 cup salty pecans, chopped ✔ 1⁄2 cup halved pecans ✔ 1 tsp. coarse salt ✔ 1 Tbsp. olive oil Mix together flour, yeast and sugar. Add the eggs and milk and mix until smooth.
Add the softened butter and salt and mix.
Add the chopped pecans and mix well.
Knead the dough by hand or in a mixer 8 more minutes and leave to rise, covered, at room temperature for an hour and a half.
Divide the dough into small plumsize balls. Roll the balls between your palms and place each ball in a small muffin form.
Place the muffin forms on a baking sheet, and leave enough room between them. Let rise for 1 hour.
To roast the pecans: On a baking sheet, mix together pecans, 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. coarse salt. Bake at 180º for 25 minutes. Let cool.
Brush the buns with a little beaten egg and place pieces of pecans on each bun.
Sprinkle a little coarse salt on each bun.
Bake at 180º for 15-20 minutes until golden.
ROSEMARY SALT AND SESAME FOCACCIASalt of the Earth has a series of flavored salt flakes that inspired chef Segev Moshe to create the following easy recipe. The gourmet flavored salt flakes are packed in easy-to-use airtight jars to keep the salt fresh for a long time.
✔ 1 kg. white flour ✔ 10 basil leaves, finely chopped ✔ 1 handful parsley or coriander leaves, chopped ✔ 4 heaping Tbsp. dry yeast✔ 550 ml. lukewarm water ✔ 1 tsp. sugar ✔ 1 level Tbsp. rosemary-flavored salt flakes
Topping: ✔ 4 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed ✔ 1 red hot chili pepper, chopped (optional) ✔ Sesame ✔ Rosemary-flavored salt flakes
Knead all the ingredients together in a large bowl at least 8 minutes. If needed, add a little flour – but not a lot, or the texture of the bread will be too dense.
Let the dough rise covered for 1 hour in a warm place.
Lightly flour a baking sheet, and place the risen dough on it. Flatten with your hands until the dough covers the baking sheet in an even layer. Let rise for another 30 minutes.
When the dough has doubled in size, drizzle the olive oil over the bread, sprinkle with garlic and, with your fingertips, combine the oil into the dough.
Heat the oven to 220º. Sprinkle generously with sesame. Sprinkle the salt flakes on top and bake for 20-30 minutes until the bread is golden.
Serve with small dishes of olive oil and salt flakes for dipping.
Chef Amit Dahan created a seasonal dairy recipe that is both easy and impressive.
✔ Filo dough (available frozen in supermarkets. Defrost overnight before using) ✔ 3 sweet potatoes, sliced ✔ From-Ez goat cheese ✔ Coarse salt ✔ Black pepper ✔ 100 gr. salty butter, melted ✔ 100 gr. walnuts
Brush sweet potato slices with butter on both sides and bake at 180º for 20 minutes.
On a clean work surface, place a filo pastry leaf and brush with melted butter. Place a second leaf over it.
Cut rounds from the pastry with a cookie cutter, about the size of the potato slices. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 170º for 8 minutes.
Slice the cheese thinly.
Sprinkle the nuts with salty water and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
To arrange the dish: Place a round of pastry on a plate, top with a slice of baked sweet potato, add a slice of cheese and repeat 3 times. Serve warm or cold, with the nuts sprinkled around and on top.ROASTED RED ONIONS WITH THYME
Chef Amit Dahan puts the onion in the center in this recipe, baking sweet red onions with butter and quality salt. These onions can be served as an appetizer or as a side dish with fish.
✔ 6 medium-size red onions ✔ 150 gr. butter (or margarine) ✔ 1 tsp. coarse Red Sea salt ✔ Black pepper ✔ Handful fresh thyme, leaves only ✔ 4 Tbsp. olive oil
Peel onions and cut bottom to create a flat base. Mix butter with thyme leaves.
Using a sharp knife, cut an X on the top of each onion and place butter in each.
Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Place the onions on a baking sheet and roast at 180º for 1 hour.
Note: The chef suggests adding sweetness by pouring 1 Tbsp. of silan on each baked onion immediately after removing from the oven.
You can replace the butter with margarine or olive oil when using as a side dish for a meat dinner.
Make your own pastrami using low-sodium salt. It’s easy and much more healthful.
Recipe by Chef Amit Dahan for Salt of the Earth.
✔ 11⁄2 kg. whole turkey breast ✔ 1⁄4 cup oil ✔ 1⁄2 cup water ✔ 1⁄2 cup silan ✔ 2 Tbsp. honey ✔ 3 tsp. 50% less sodium Red Sea salt ✔ 3 Tbsp. brown sugar ✔ 5 allspice seeds ✔ 5 bay leaves ✔ 3 cloves garlic ✔ 1 Tbsp. red paprika Mix together all the ingredients.
Place the turkey in a bowl and pour the mixture over it. Marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Heat the oven to 170º. Place the turkey on a baking sheet, reserving the marinade.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove the foil, pour reserved marinade over the turkey and bake 10 more minutes uncovered.
Remove from oven and let the turkey cool.
Slice when completely cooled and serve with dark bread and some mustard.LIVER PÂTÉ CROSTINI WITH FIGS AND ONION JAM
Another recipe by chef Segev Moshe using the gourmet line of flavored salt flakes, this time the chili flavored salt.
✔ 700 gr. chicken livers, cleaned ✔ 5 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ 1 tsp. chili flavored salt flakes ✔ 1⁄2 tsp. black pepper ✔ 4 hard boiled eggs (peeled)
For the jam: ✔ 5 large red onions, chopped ✔ 7 dried figs (about 100 gr.), chopped ✔ 1 cup brown sugar ✔ 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon ✔ 1 cup red sweet wine
For the crostini: ✔ 1 fresh baguette, sliced ✔ 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
To serve: ✔ 1⁄2 tsp. chili salt flakes ✔ Arugula leaves (optional) ✔ Pine nuts (optional)
To prepare jam: In a saucepan, boil the wine and sugar until melted. Add onion and figs and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add cinnamon and mix until smooth. Turn heat to very low and continue cooking 15-20 minutes until jam is thick.
To prepare the pâté: In a large bowl, mix together livers, 4 Tbsp. oil and coarse salt.
Heat a nonstick pan and sauté the livers.
Add 4 tsp. onion jam and quickly sauté together. Place in a food processor bowl and add the eggs. Beat in pulses until chopped, but not too smooth.
To prepare crostini: Heat oven to very high (220º-230º). Toast sliced bread in the oven until browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cinnamon while still hot.
To arrange the dish: Spread a generous layer of pâté on each crostini, and top with 1⁄2 tsp. onion jam. Garnish with arugula leaves or pine nuts.
Recipes and photos courtesy of Salt of the Earth.