Given the size of my immediate family, it was a huge relief when, a few years back, someone finally suggested that we stop the practice of exchanging sibling Christmas gifts. We now only bother with gifts for the little people (i.e., the kids and our petite little mom…), and it cuts the holiday chaos down quite a bit.
That said, I’m a bit of a traditionalist, and I still like the concept and festivity of small homemade holiday gifts of the party favor size. This year Laurel did the heavy lifting by painting up a storm (the results of which were set in small frames), and recently I was reminded of one of my favorite holiday, hostess, or foodie friend gifts when my sister-in-law requested my Magic Salt recipe from a couple of Christmases back. Modified from Sally Schneider’s Tuscan Herb Salt recipe (in A New Way to Cook), I dubbed this salt magical because it truly makes everything taste fantastic. It provides particularly wonderful seasoning for simple sautéed vegetables, or for meats of any kind.
+ + + + +
Schneider’s ingredient ratios seemed a little too herb heavy (the salt ended up taking on a Kermit-like coloring) so I adjusted the ratios to render a subtler blend. The yield is high, which is great for holidays, hostess gifts, or to share with fellow foodie friends.
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 2-3 bunches of fresh sage
- 2-3 bunches of fresh rosemary
- 1 to 1.5 pounds of Kosher salt (e.g., Morton’s Kosher Salt)
1. Strip leaves off herbs. Place leaves and remaining ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until herbs and garlic are finely minced. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop the ingredients together by hand (the former will be much faster).
2. Transfer contents to a large bowl and let dry uncovered for a few days. Stir contents to break up hardened chunks; store indefinitely in a clean, dry jar.
- Small Mason jars work well for small gifts or favors. For a pretty touch, cut a square of wax paper or fabric to cover the top and sides of the lid; secure in place with a rubber band. Tie ribbon or raffia around to cover the rubber band.
- Feel free to substitute other herbs, depending on what looks most fresh at the market.