On a recent trip to France we visited Château des Erles in Fitou where the eccentric Marie José, business partner of the Lurton brothers and founder of that château, treated us to a delicious and simple lunch of garbure, the meal in a bowl: cabbage, vegetable and duck soup. We also had a great chilled tomato soup, one of the best I've tasted and totally different from a gazpacho. Sitting in the middle of the table throughout lunch was a big bowl of fleur de sel, the Atlantic sea salt. Madame had dried some herbs from the garden and mixed them with the salt and it was like an edible pot pourri, a beautiful, natural table decoration ready to be used as seasoning.
Needless to say I stole the idea and now have a lovely stone bowl - once the mortar part of a pestle and mortar set - filled with herb clippings from the garden and sea salt from Camargue. The children could make this as a gift, presented in a bottle with a cork, or a Kilner-type jar. Just don't let them go dipping their fingers in the salt - they get plenty from all those crisps they eat. You can dry the herbs in a very low oven as I've suggested, or leave them on a radiator overnight.
A couple of handfuls of herbs such as rosemary, tarragon or thyme
250g or more of sea salt
Pre-heat the oven to the lowest setting possible. Place the herbs on a baking tray and put them in the oven for an hour or so until they are dry, but haven't lost their colour. Break the herbs up and mix with the salt. Store them in a Kilner jar, or, like I have, just sitting in an old bowl in the middle of the table waiting to be used.Reuse content