Growing up, my grandmother always had vanilla sugar in an old Schilling canister. She would take the used vanilla beans and let it permeate the sugar – and then use it for cookies, french toast, really any thing that called for or could be improved with vanilla and sugar.
And since I have a penchant for salt, I thought I would try my hand at vanilla salt.
But because I wanted the vanilla to be really present – in smell, taste, and sight – I didn’t just add an empty vanilla bean to the salt. I added the vanilla “caviar” to the salt and mixed it all around with a fork. This way you could really see that it was vanilla. Once it was well combined, I threw in the empty pod too, for good measure.
This salt would be awesome for sweets that call for a bit of salt – think caramels and chocolates, cookies and ice cream. But I can’t wait to use it for things that are traditionally savory. I think that hint of vanilla will open up totally new flavors on some of our favorite things.
This weekend we will be trying it out, with lots of other different salts too, on all variety of heirloom tomatoes – which was the reason for that trip to Chinatown.
½ c. kosher or sea salt 1 vanilla bean
Split the vanilla bean open with a knife and scrape out all the “caviar.” Add to the salt. Using a fork to break it all down, combine the vanilla and salt. Add empty pod if desired for extra flavor. Store in an airtight container.
You can halve, double, etc. this “recipe” and play with the proportions. If you want if to me more or less potent, add more/less of either ingredients, depending on your preference.