Grains of Salt: A Salty Infusion
Today's finishing sea salts are a cook's secret weapon. With their irregular shape and subtle crunch, they have a talent for adding sparks of flavor when scattered over a finished dish.
Sheila Piala boosts their appeal even more with sea salt blends from her new Ojai-based company, A Salty Infusion. Created in her home kitchen under California's Cottage Food Law, Piala offers more than 20 blends.
To a base of sea salt harvested from Northern California's waters, Piala adds herbs and spices. She uses local products as much as possible, including Ojai Pixie tangerines, where the petite citrus's juice and peel speckle the Pixie Herb blend, along with sage, lavender and rosemary.
Zesty Sun-Dried Tomato is spiked with chile pepper, oregano, celery seed, onion, garlic, lemon and lime. There's a smoky hickory and tangy citrus blend, too.
While the salts can be crushed and mixed into recipes, they are at their sparkly best when added last: Sprinkle them over grilled fish or chicken, or a green salad dressed simply with an olive-oil vinaigrette. Diners at Feast Bistro (FeastOfOjai.com) in Ojai can also enjoy the Garlic Parsley Flake Sea Salt blend she makes exclusively for the restaurant.
A Salty Infusion products are available in four-ounce jars at Spice-Topia (Spice-Topia.com) in Ventura, Made in Ojai Artisans & Mercantile (MadeInOjai.com) or through Piala. For more info, visit ASaltyInfusion.com.