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Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Glut of Bay Leaves and Bay Flavoured Salts

As a result of the bay tree having a hair cut - I hae a load of bay leaves an I am experiementing with these.  I am very interested in flavoured rubs for different meats and somewhere down th eline I have heard reference to bay salt - I think that I have read about this in relation to charcuterie or meat curing, but as per usual when I have been trying to relocate the article concerned. I cannot locate it, so a little experiementation called for here. I also in the future intend to have a go at making home produiced bacon and sausages and salami I thought I would have a look at the ingredients first.

I have known for a few years that if you wish to store a herb like dill or fennel in the larder to layer it beween salt and the herb will stay as fresh as the day that you popped it in the jar, but with the added bonus that you have a delicately flavoured salt, as well as the herb to use.
It is like a flavoured sugar in some respects in that you traditionally insert vanilla pods into a kg of sugar and leave it for at least a month  and you should have delicately flavoured vanilla sugar.  Or if you are like Jamie Oliver you bung the sugar and the vanilla pods into a food processor so that the vanilla is all chopped up into the sugar.  Both versions work, it just depends upon your take upon things.

On the basis that I always cook and use bay leaves in my day to day cooking and the glut of leaves and on the basis that I appreciate the subtlety with which bay leaves add and undefinable flavour which you know is missing if you come across a cook who does not use bay leaves, and on the basis that it does more flavour I am going to have a serious play and on the basis that . other salt recipes usually start half and half, I am using this as my base line recipe.  I was also thinking along the llines that some recipes are actually cooked in a salt case and I thoughtt that this might imbue more flavour into the fish or meat if the salt was flavoured or at least a percentage of it, as too much would probably overpower whereas a little would add to or  emphasise the subtleness of the flavouring or alternatively jazzing up a meal with a few grains of flavoured salt.  (I am thinking primarily here of Grav Lax and a dill or fennel salt)  So in effect you have a before and after use with salt - it is a condiment that you use to flavour, but also dress your food on the plate with so it does double duty.

I am not sure whether it will work but I am starting off with 4oz sea salt (Maldon) and am popping this into the food processor, where I am adding a few leaves at a time until I ge the required density of flavour that I like  - the leaves I am using are semi dry - some people suggest that bay leaves are best used fresh others that they are best used dry.  I will leave that part to your own particular point of view as our palates do vary.  I do tend to use dried ones though.

Right I am off to experiment with the Izzy Whizzy Lets get busy food processor (told you it is down to alchemy).  Will report back later on as to whether its a success an abject failure or whether it is worth keeping on the pantry shelf.

Catch you later

Pattypan

xx

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