I have a secret. But it is not a secret! It is a collection of the most amazing jars of artisan sea salt, richly flavored with exotic seasonings.
My “secret” comes from Secret Stash Salts in the Seattle area. Not only are their products delicious, but they are just the nicest people and it has been my pleasure to “chat” with them on Twitter and email. When I placed my order earlier this year I just had the hardest time choosing between their various amazing salts. Eventually, after much hand wringing, soul searching and stomach rumbling I selected three:
– Rosemary and lavender salt
– Smoked chipotle
– Coconut garam masala
Besides the obvious uses on roast chicken, steak, and vegetables, I was challenged by Janna to let them know what creative ways I could use their product. The Secret Stash website has some amazing recipes already, and I was stymied to think of an original dish.
The other night, however, I had a lone tomato in the pantry along with two last slices of sourdough batard and I was hungry! I toasted the bread a little, spread on butter, sliced tomatoes and then just stared at it. It needed “something”. My eye fell on the jars of salts and voilà! I generously sprinkled the juicy dripping tomatoes with the coconut garam masala salt and tucked in. It was heavenly.
The sweetness of the tomatoes was echoed by the inherent sweetness of the coconut. The sour chewiness of the bread and the blandness of the butter were piqued by the subtle spicing of the garam masala. To put it mildly, this tomato sandwich rocked!
Today, after a fun belated birthday lunch with Gel at the Ferry Building, I picked up a vibrant glowing orange heirloom tomato and a red and orange striped Roma-shaped tomato, fresh herb salad and an Acme whole wheat boule for dinner.
After a brief courtship with a dollop of champagne vinegar, a drizzle of green fruity olive oil, miniscule specks of garlic and a hearty grind of black pepper, the tomatoes were tossed with the herb salad. This glistening mound of summer lounged in a bowl while I browned thick slices of the moist heavy bread in a dark skillet shimmering with butter and a drop of olive oil until they were deeply golden and crisp on the outside. On my best plate I piled juicy spoonfuls of the tomatoes and herbs over the bread. Then, drying my fingers, I copiously topped one of the tartines with the coconut garam masala salt. I sprinkled the other with the rosemary lavender salt for a taste comparison. I poured myself a lean and tangy glass of Pinot Grigio and sank into a chair, moaning softly as I bit into a tartine, juice dribbling down my arm and chin. I just love summer.
Tomato Herb Tartine*
Serves two good friends or two aquaintences in separate rooms
2 slices artisan bread
2 T butter
3 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
Maldon sea salt
2 to 3 heirloom tomatoes, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 c herb salad (you may substitute arugula, mâché or roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley with basil, dill or herbs of your choice)
1 T champagne vinegar
Fresh black pepper
1/8 t Secret Stash Salt Coconut Garam Masala salt – or – rosemary lavender salt
5 paper napkins
In a medium bowl toss together tomatoes, vinegar, 2 T of olive oil, garlic, pepper and toss well. Let sit while you prepare the toasts.
In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until foamy and add the remaining 1 T olive oil, then swirl pan. Add the bread slices and sauté until very golden brown. Turn and repeat on other side. Remove to a plate and sprinkle bread with Maldon salt.
Add herb salad to tomato mixture, toss gently, and spoon generously on toasts. Sprinkle with Secret Stash Salt, cut into 3 pieces (if desired) and eat slowly with lots of napkins.
To my taste the coconut garam masala was fantastic, although the rosemary lavender was delicious too. I think you should try them both too and see which you prefer.
* Question: is it fair to really call this a recipe??
Order your salts here: http://www.secretsalts.com/
My next purchase will be their newest addition: Summer Truffle Salt!
Update: the leftover tomatoes made an excellent breakfast with a poached egg on top.