Homemade, edible holiday gifts are kind of tricky. There is a fine line between giving a unique, thoughtful, carefully prepared gourmet goodie, and giving someone something that looks like it was just an easy way out. Hopefully, this beautiful looking and smelling fresh herb "finishing" salt will be seen as the former.
If this looks familiar, I did a similar version a few years ago for About.com, and since I needed a Holiday-themed gift idea to film for this year's YouTube Holiday Solution Center, I decided to give it another go.
As you'll see, I used rosemary and lemon thyme, but other hearty green herbs will also work. By "hearty," I mean herbs that are sturdy and resinous, like savory, oregano, and marjoram. Fragile herbs like dill, chervil, and cilantro, just don’t work as well.
Answers to a few common questions: Yes, the color will fade within a few weeks, but the herby flavor and aroma will remain intact for much longer. There is no shelf-life limit, and this can be kept indefinitely.
I described this as a "finishing salt," meaning it's used to season cooked food at the table; however, it can also be used in place of regular salt in any recipe preparation. So, if you're looking for a cool, creative foodie stocking stuffer, or, well, you're just cheap, I hope you give this a try. Enjoy!
Ingredients (makes about 1 1/2 cups):
1/2 cup packed fresh herb leaves (I used rosemary and lemon thyme)
1/2 cup course sea salt
1 cup regular sea salt, or a flaky kosher salt