I had heard of herbes salées, but never made it until last summer, when a recipe for this salted herb and vegetable condiment showed up in my email, as one to be tested for a cook book. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but diligently followed the instructions and then filled out my feedback form. I was working at a local organic farm a few days a week, so had access to plenty of extra imperfect produce… Grinding it up and mixing with salt seemed like as good an idea as any, for making use of what couldn’t be sold at the market.
That jar sat on the counter for a few days, then went into the fridge, and after a month or so I remembered it and sprinkled a bit of the mixture onto some mushrooms frying in olive oil, in place of regular salt.
It was delicious. The flavours of the different herbs and vegetables had all melded, into a smooth but vibrant seasoning that complimented the mushrooms perfectly. I soon found that herbes salées was a fantastic addition to just about every savoury dish, especially the vegetarian fare that we eat most of the time at our house: Roasted vegetables, egg dishes, beans and rice, hearty soups. Even my spouse, who is often very (judiciously) wary of the jars of experimental foods that crowd our fridge, was seeking it out… That’s a win.
Unfortunately, I can’t share that recipe with you, as it’s not mine… Though of course I’ll tell you when the cookbook it’s in is published.
However! Since that first jar, I’ve made many versions of herbes salées, using a general rule of a 2:1 ratio by weight, of herbs/vegetables to salt.
Here is my latest, a tribute to one of my favourite seasonal treats, garlic scapes.
Les fleurs d’ail salées (Salted Garlic Scapes)
Yields ~3/4 cup
100g garlic scapes (I used 5 scapes)
50g coarse pickling salt
Slice scapes roughly, then run through a meat grinder or pulse in a food processor until finely minced.
Combine with salt and mix thoroughly with a spoon.
Pack into a clean jar, and cover with clean lid.
If your home is relatively cool, this will last a month or more on the counter; I keep mine in the fridge, as my place is rather hot these days. This recipe is simple to scale up! When I make larger batches, I store the jars in the basement, on the cold concrete floor.
What’s that jar? This is a Le Parfait brand, wire bail jar with a rubber seal (style/size: Terrine 200). I was lucky to find it a thrift store for a dollar, in like-new condition!