Wild Porcini Salt Recipe ~ this simple homemade finishing salt will take so many of your recipes to the next level, it makes a great host gift, too!
Last week I had the privilege of watching Chef Jimmy Schmidt cook at his restaurant, Morgan’s in the Desert, at the La Quinta Resort and Spa which is just outside Palm Springs. He filleted a massive wild salmon that had just been flown in overnight from Alaska, and served it over a quinoa ‘risotto’ with foraged chanterelle mushrooms. One of the things he had on his meticulously organized prep tray was a porcini mushroom salt. I knew the minute I saw him blasting the dish with that rich dust that I had to go home and try to make some for myself.
I usually don’t use a ton of salt in my cooking, I consciously hold back, not so much for health reasons, but because I think that too much salt just masks the true flavors of food. A little enhances, but too much masks. I like the idea of a salt like this one that has more to offer. In this case, porcini mushrooms are intensely earthy and richly flavored. They grow wild in Italy, and they aren’t commercially cultivated, so you’ll usually find them in dried form here. Because they’re dried, they are easily mixed with salt to form a really powerful seasoning.
Making your own flavored and infused salts is really simple and fun. If you think ahead you can knock off a whole bunch of easy holiday gifts with this. I’ve already shown you how to make three different kinds of finishing salts in this post. This one will be even more potent as far as the impact it can have on your food, it’s incredibly fragrant. You can cook with it or use it as a finishing salt in anything from scrambled eggs to risotto.
Dried porcinis usually come in small 1/2 oz bags. Instead of reconstituting them in warm water like you would for most recipes, you will grind the dried mushrooms to a powder for this salt. You’ll need a spice or coffee grinder to do this. The small size makes it the perfect tool for grinding small amounts. I love my little Krups coffee grinder, I keep it especially for spices, and it does a perfect job.
I used a ratio of about 4 to 1 salt to mushroom powder for this. I think that’s about right, but you can certainly fiddle with the proportions if you want. I used Malden salt, an English flaked sea salt and it’s reputed to be the best in the world. It’s not particularly expensive, and since you’re going to the trouble to make this specialty salt, might as well use a good base. You can also use Kosher, or any good quality salt.
If you’re giving your salt as a gift you can package it in lots of different ways. Use recycled spice jars, or put it in small plastic bags and then present it with a little bowl for keeping by the stove. The smallest size canning jars work well, too. Small Weck Jars with the little clips are the ultimate in cute packaging.
Enjoy the week, we’re now officially in fall, yay!
Wild Porcini Salt
- 4 Tbsp dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/2 cup sea salt or Kosher salt I used Malden
- Put the dried porcini mushrooms into a coffee grinder and grind until finely ground. This won't take long, probably under a minute. Do it in batches if they all won't fit in at once.
- Depending on the size of the crystal of the salt you are using, you may want to give some or all of it a quick pulse in the grinder, too, before mixing with the mushrooms. I used Malden salt, which is flaked, and I wanted it to have a slightly more uniform texture so I gave it a quick grind.
- Mix the salt with the mushrooms and stir thoroughly. Store in an airtight container.