Posts Tagged ‘Maldon Sea Salt’



Image: John-Aives-1946

Happy Wednesday, loves!

I’m gearing up to brave the Los Angeles rain and thinking fondly of the Morton umbrella girl and her yellow raindress.

With Himalayan pinks, Balinese sea and fleur de sel gris brightening the pantry aisle at every major grocery store, our clients are occasionally surprised when we pull the familiar box of Morton brand kosher salt from our A & O kitchen totes.

It’s the salt we (and most restaurant chefs) prefer for cooking.  We’ve grown up using it and know from experience how much to add and when.  It’s plentiful and heightens flavors beautifully.  We keep a pig filled to the brim stoveside for quick and easy flavoring.

Which isn’t to say we don’t recommend you experiment with various sea salts.  We cook with the kosher and finish with the sea.  A sprinkle at the end of the cooking process enlivens a dish like nothing else.  Like all our favorite things, sea salt is best chosen to suit your personal taste.  Maldon is our preferred for finishing dishes.  It has a dry, sparkly finish and I can’t resist the beautiful pyramid-shaped flakes.  They amaze me every time.

Many great chefs, including Pastry King David Lebovitz, swear by Fleur de Sel de Guérande which is softer, wetter and, believe it or not, saltier than Maldon .

So tell us, what salts do you use?


Individual Lobster Pot Pies


Our clients got engaged over the holiday! Sarah and I are giddy with joy and excitement for them. We wanted to make them a special romantic dinner to share with a glass of champagne as they look over wedding magazines and start the fun planning process.

Lobster pot pie filling

ready for thier pastry lids

Nothing says decadance, celebration and romance like individual lobster pot pies. A cozy homey dish elevated by the rich lobster and chic white Le Creuset bowls we bake them in. Served with a fresh green salad with a tart vinaigrette to cut through the richness of the pot pies, this makes a lovely winter meal for any special occasion.

Lobster pot pies with pastry tops

pastry lids draped over the pots

These would be fantastic for a January birthday dinner or a Valentine’s day meal for two.

Lobster pot pie

brushed with egg wash and a sprinkle of Maldon salt

Our recipe is based off of Ina Garten’s Lobster Pot Pie recipe which we have adapted to be slightly easier to execute and slightly healthier.

Individual Lobster Pot Pies

makes 4 individual pot pies


1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 large onion)

3/4 cup chopped fennel (1 fennel bulb)

1/4 pound unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2  cups fish stock or clam juice

1/2 cup white wine

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons 1/2 & 1/2

3/4 pound cooked fresh lobster meat

1 1/2 cups frozen peas (not “baby” peas)

1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions

1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed


Saute the onions and fennel with the butter in a large saute pan on medium heat until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour and cook on low heat for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, wine, salt, and pepper and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the 1/2 & 1/2.

Cut the lobster meat into medium-sized cubes. Place the lobster, frozen peas, frozen onions, and parsley in a bowl (there is no need to defrost the vegetables). Pour the sauce over the mixture and check the seasonings. Place the filling into individual sized oven safe bakeware pots or bowls (our Le Creuset soup bowls hold 16 oz.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the thawed puff pastry dough on a floured surface and slightly roll out to flatten and stretch the dough to make 2 rounds that will fit your pots. I like to trace around the pot or bowl leaving 1/2 inch of extra crust to drape over the edge of the pot. Cut 2 slits in your pastry round for steam to escape during baking. Brush the rim of your pots with egg wash and then drape the crusts over your pots, molding it to fit tightly along the sides. Repeat with the remaining dough and then brush all 4 pots with egg wash and sprinkle the tops with sea salt. Bake on a covered baking sheet for 30-40 minutes until the tops are golden brown and puffed and the filling is bubbling hot.


Grilled Pizza and Glamping


Angus and I snuck away to go glamour camping, a.k.a glamping at el Capitan Canyon in the Santa Barbara foothills.   Glamping means enjoying the wonders of nature from your own private creekside glen without having to pitch your tent, scavenge for wood or wonder what was THAT? every time you hear a noise.

Aren’t the cabins beautiful? We had a king-sized bed,  fireplace, soaking tub, kitchenette, and a wide porch perfect for reading.

Glamping, my friends, is utter relaxation.

Here’s what I packed for food prep (from L-R)

My moka for grill-top espresso (you can just see the tip of the spout in the upper left-hand corner)

1 bag ground intelligentsia black cat decaf espresso

1 bag Maldon sea salt (the best!)

2 deck towels for triple duty–as tablecloths, porch blankets and beach towels

A moleskin journal and my Penguin Classics clothbound copy of The Odyssey

Hershey bars, graham crackers and marshmallows for lots of you-know-what!

1 bottle of olive oil and my dependable Mario Batali pepper mill.  Mine is the design prototype from my days with the man himself and has served me well for 8 years now.  I highly recommend them.

1 chef’s knife, 1 pair tongs, 1 fish spatula, 1 regular spatula and two tenugui cloths for napkins.

My carryall is a Reisenthal collapsible market tote which Lydia and I use every single day for carting groceries to our clients’ homes.  They’re also amazing for road trips and days at the beach.

Next time I’ll bring a cutting board as well.

Here’s our cook-top.

The first night we had delicious charred corn with grilled salmon and asparagus.  Simply drizzle the corn with olive oil, add salt and pepper and place directly on the grill until the kernels blacken, turning occasionally for even cooking, about 3-5  minutes depending on the heat of your fire.

Our second night was really special.  We grilled store-bought pizza dough and and topped it with a smear of goat cheese, grilled eggplant slices and heirloom tomatoes.

To grill the eggplant, we followed the same steps for the corn but left it on the grill for about 8 minutes per side until it was charred and soft and smoky.

We didn’t have a rolling pin and my olive oil bottle is square (a round one works in a pinch) so we simply ripped hunks of dough from the ball and stretched it by hand into mini rounds.  We daubed the dough with olive oil, sprinkled it with sea salt and laid it flat on the hot grill.  Grill until the first side is marked, about 1 minute, then flip and place your toppings on the cooked side.  Continue grilling until the second side is marked and your cheese melts, about 1 minute more.

We tore fresh mint leaves to cut through the smoky richness of the eggplant and goat cheese and ate standing up, anxious to get our next mini going as quickly as possible.

Doesn’t a burning fire make everything taste better?

Note: grilled pizza is best when followed by lots of s’mores.

Read more about glamping at The Red, White, and Green


The Classics- Basic Vinaigrette


This is my everyday vinaigrette recipe. I modify the vinegar to complement the flavor and texture of different lettuces but the basic recipe always stays the same. Throw out your bottled dressings (filled with sugar, chemicals and unhealthy oils) and make some of this once a week!

vinaigrette ingedients

The triumvirate of vinaigrette ingredients…according to me. Vinaigre de Banyuls, Maldon sea salt and Grey Poupon Dijon mustard. I just shake it all up in a saved mustard jar and store it in my fridge all week.

vinaigre de banyuls

In my opinion Banyuls vinegar is the perfect “salad dressing” vinegar. It’s tart like red wine vinegar but with WAY more depth of flavor. It is available at Whole Foods and other specialty markets.

vinaigrette close up

Basic Vinaigrette

make about 1/4 cup

1 tablespoon vinegar (sherry wine, Banyuls, champagne, red wine, white wine and apple cider vinegars all work interchangeably with this recipe)

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon sea salt (use 1/8 tsp. if using kosher salt)

freshly ground black pepper- 2-3 twists of the pepper mill

1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced shallots or garlic (optional)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Allow to sit aside for 5-10 minutes so the salt can dissolve in the vinegar. Then slowly whisk in the olive oil until well emulsified OR just shake it all up in a jar with the lid closed tightly.

To gussy up this simple recipe try these additions…

add a tablespoon of mayonnaise, vegenaise or heavy cream if you want the vinaigrette a tad creamy, say for baby gem lettuces.

add 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs like tarragon, parsley, oregano or chives.