Increasingly, the souvenirs I bring back from vacations tend to be food. Ingredients and local treats tend to be less lasting than hats or books, although hardly less memorable. A recent trip to Maine yielded this jar of hickory-smoked salt. I had been hearing about smoked salt, but had not seen any in my local stores. The fact that this originated in Maine only made it that more compelling, to buy as a souvenir.
I got it home and immediately tried it “raw.” It has fantastic smokiness, and could practically be a bacon substitute. On chicken and beef, it was a no-brainer, on fruit, delightful. But it was when I decided to sprinkle some on my favorite brownie recipe that its reason for being became clear. It captured that sublime, smoky-sweet flavor that’s been appearing in high-end chocolate lines for the past year or so. I just sprinkled the coarsely ground salt on top of the unbaked brownies, but next time, am planning to make a caramel ganache to top the brownies, then sprinkling that with the salt. (Thanks to the Basement Baker, Andy, for that suggestion!)