We are riding the peak of summer. Heat waves are rolling along the coasts, ice cream trucks are out in full force, and the days feel blissfully long. At Jacobsen Salt Co., many of us keep track of time during this season not only by following the tides and salinity levels in the ocean, but by watching our gardens. It seems as though everything speeds up between the last days of July and labor day- flowers turn to green and ombré orbs overnight, starts become leafy and lush, and yes- you can make a salad from that raised bed or pick a full bushel of basil for pesto because it will grow back in a week.
Standing outside after work, watering and feeling somewhat like those wilted plants, we’re often hard pressed to want to cook. Everything that requires a grill, oven, or stovetop is subconsciously vetoed and we are left wondering what to make that involves minimal prep work and heat. Bon Appetit’s August issue hit stands last week, and in his letter from the editor Adam Rapoport says it straight up: “Don’t Cook in August.” We are in full agreement.
So what’s left when you rule out cooking? Think assembling, marinading, and pairing- all with the single purpose of bringing out flavor. Here, we believe that flake salt never shines more than when it’s used to highlight raw, elemental ingredients. Ever wonder why a tomato tastes more tomato-y when you add sea salt? Therein lies the magic of salinity: its ability to unlock layers of hidden flavor and bring them to life in your mouth. What better time than summer to dip into your salt cellar?
Inspired by Bon Appetit, our backyards, and our desire to keep it cool- here are some summer recipes from Jacobsen Salt Co. All range from three to five ingredients- and each will leave you and your guests satisfied by the time the sun has set.
Dice 5-6 heirlooms, 1 red onion, 4 cloves garlic, and 10-12 leaves basil. Salt generously (1-2 tsp) with lemon zest flake salt and toss. Leave to sit on the counter in a sunny spot for about 1 hour so the flavors can intensify. Then, add a healthy pour of olive oil and macerate gently with a wooden spoon. Eat on its own, or use the bruschetta to top bread, fish or grilled meats and vegetables. Extra: the remaining liquid is an excellent addition to the next morning’s scrambled eggs.
Melon & Proscuitto
A throw back to days gone by, but it never gets old for a reason! Slice your favorite melon into sections, wrap with a delicate proscuitto (we love our neighbor’s version at Olympic Provisions) and top with smoked or pure salt. Add a final drizzle of Bee Local buckwheat honey, platter and serve.
Peaches & Drinking Vinegar
Slice up 3-5 fresh peaches, we love Maryhill from Goldendale, Washington, and place in bowl. Add 3-4 tablespoons of drinking vinegar (we like Raspberry Som or Genki-Su citron), toss, and let marinade for 10 minutes. Finish with Vanilla Bean Salt. Add mascarpone or freshly whipped cream if you desire, it pairs beautifully with the tang from the vinegar.
Pesto Pick Plate
A new spin on Grand Aoili. In a blender combine 2 large handfuls of basil, 4 garlic cloves, 3/4 cup walnuts, 5 tblsp olive oil, and 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano. Salt and pepper to taste. Place a large bowl of pesto in the center of a platter surrounded by all the sliced vegetables you have around (bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, and summer squash). Also add quartered hard boiled eggs (make them in the morning before it gets hot and refrigerate them) and, if you are feeling fancy, a round of burrata. Have a cellar of flake salt nearby for finishing by the bite!
By Sana Goldberg