Making my own sea salt is something I’ve long been interested in trying. But it’s not exactly practical. First, you have to do a little research to figure out whether or not the seawater you’ll be collecting is clean. Then, you trudge a large quantity of (very heavy) vessels from the beach. Next, you’ll boil down the water over the course of a few hours. And from all that you’ll get a handful of your very own sea salt.
But there are a lot of reasons to do it. It’s an opportunity to spend an afternoon at the beach, which alone merits the effort. You may luck out and run into a harem of elk making their way across an empty road. And you will, no doubt, be rather proud of your efforts, humble as they are.
If you do choose to make your own sea salt, use it as a finishing salt at the end of your preparation so that you can highlight its unique qualities. Desserts that call for fleur de sel would be perfect. As would any vegetable that does well with a simple pan fry, and I can think of no better vehicle than padron peppers. These little suckers are addictive. One in every ten or so is spicy, and that’s part of the fun. The rest possess a mild green pepper flavor and are the perfect cocktail snack or small party appetizer.
This Padron Peppers with Sea Salt recipe is part of the September Seasonal Food Guide
PADRON PEPPERS WITH SEA SALT
Serves 2-4 as an appetizer
1/2 pound padron peppers, rinsed
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high. When the pan is hot, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Toss in the padron peppers and stir to coat evenly with oil. Let them roast and pop, turning occasionally, until skin is darkened and blistered, about 7-10 minutes.
Remove from heat and finish with a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Serve immediately.
TO MAKE YOUR OWN SEA SALT:
1. Research beaches – avoid those that have recurring issues with water pollution or bacteria. It’s also best to avoid beaches with dangerous rip currents since you’ll have to wade out a couple feet to collect water.
2. Bring a collection of large vessels with you to collect water. Gallon milk containers (thoroughly cleaned!) are great.
3. Bring a picnic to the beach.
4. Wade out a couple feet, sumberge your container, and fill as much as you can. Bring home at least a gallon.
5. Strain the water through multiple layers of cheesecloth to remove all debris.
6. Simmer over a medium-low heat until nearly all of the water is evaporated.
7. Scrape into a glass jar or salt cellar, and enjoy.