I have to admit that I haven't yet made the celery salt that Heidi posted awhile ago. It sounds great, but I just don't drink enough bloody marys to justify making a full batch of salt. However, I suspect that said salt would work well for pretty much any savory application, so maybe that will happen in the future.
In the meantime, I made gomasio: Japanese sesame salt. Gomasio is super fragrant, slightly crunchy, and packs a huge punch. It's just a mixture of toasted sesame seeds and salt, ground coarsely in a mortar & pestle (or with a pulse or two in a food processor). In Japan they use a specialized mortar & pestle called a suribachi; my ordinary marble mortar & pestle worked just fine.
The proportion of sesame to salt varies a bit from recipe to recipe--some include dried seaweed and nettle as well--but I'm pretty happy with this version. You can use either black or white sesame seeds. I think white seeds are a bit easier, since you'll be able to see how toasted they are. I also used kosher salt, but probably any decent salt you like should work fine.
4 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp salt
Making gomasio is simple. First, toast your sesame seeds in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Shake and swirl the pan gently over the heat until the seeds have turned golden and fragrant. The timing here depends on the strength of your stove; mine took less than five minutes. Don't leave the seeds on the burner and go off into the other room. Like all nuts or seeds, they will burn before you get back. Ask me how I know!
Ok. When your sesame seeds are toasted, tip them out of the pan and into a mortar. Add your salt, and pulverize roughly with your pestle. Aim for a roughly crushed seed mixture--don't mash the seeds beyond recognition! Now scrape it all into a spice jar or other appropriate container, and store it in your spice cabinet.
Voila! Your gomasio is finished. Now all you have to do it use it at every opportunity.
- a big bowl of rice with soy sauce and finely chopped raw vegetables
- a pile of wilted greens
- a plate of seared tuna or salmon
- sautéed green beans, broccoli rabé, or asparagus