Hostess gifts should be useful, personalized, and thoughtful. Herbed salts fit the bill and are fairly simple to pull together. Picking up a bottle of wine or arriving with bouquet laden arms can be a kind gesture. However, incorporating homegrown herbs into a hostess gift that lasts gives a personal touch that will remind them of your visit long after bidding farewell.
Even herbed salts prepared for personal use are a valuable and unique condiment that is great to have on hand. Since salt enhances flavors, combining salt with other flavors before adding them to a dish allows for more vibrant seasonings. Plus, the preserving qualities of salt allow the vibrancy of fresh herbs to remain for months after they are picked.
To give these salts as a gift, pour into an airtight container and tie with a ribbon; include a handwritten recipe for how to use the salts.
Italian Herbed Salt
Sprinkle this over potatoes before roasting or rub into a pork roast. For a treat that is sure to set a brunch apart, add this to a Bloody Mary bar.
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 cloves of garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh thyme
1/2 cup fresh oregano
1/2 cup fresh parsley
Remove leaves from thyme and oregano and discard the stems. Some moisture in the garlic and herbs is natural, but the ingredients must be dry as wet ingredients will dissolve the salt. Place all ingredients into a food processer. Pulse for 1 to 2 seconds until herbs are finely chopped. This should only take about 8 to 10 pulses. The consistency should be coarse like a spice mix, not smooth like a sauce or pesto. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Latin Herbed Salt
Delicious sprinkled atop a light, flaky fish for tacos or incorporated into homemade guacamole.
1 cup kosher salt
3 garlic cloves
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 cup fresh oregano
2 tablespoons pepper flakes
Remove leaves from oregano and discard the stems. Place all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse for 1 to 2 seconds until herbs are finely chopped. This should only take about 8 to 10 pulses. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.