Whether it's $20+ truffle salt (which is so Fancy Food Show 3 years ago), or saffron salt, or Salt! Now with 18K gold (OK, I

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The Fleecing Of Gourmet America

Tips from the cooking proletariat on fancy salts

Whether it's $20+ truffle salt (which is so Fancy Food Show 3 years ago), or saffron salt, or Salt! Now with 18K gold (OK, I made that up), fancy salt is beyond de rigueur. Think of any highly desirable herb and chances are someone has put it in a jar with some rare salt and tacked a hefty price tag on it. Not that these products aren't fabulous, it's just...that they should only be for the fabulously lazy and/or rich.

Save your money for a sizable tri-tip and make your own incredible herbed salt in two seconds. All you need is a mortar and pestle. IKEA sells a set for $6, but I always see them on the shelves of Goodwill and Value Village. Buy quality herbs and seeds in bulk, along with some good sea salt. 4 ounces of Italian sea salt should only set you back two bucks at World Spice Merchants on Western, or online HERE. Seeds, especially fennel and coriander, work best.

Crushing the seeds releases all the good smelly stuff, ready to be soaked up by the salt. And once you've ground your own fennel seed, you'll kick yourself that you ever almost got conned into buying those expensive little tins of fennel pollen (Don't even get me started on that fad.)

These salts make great gifts and add simple, vibrant flash to grilled meats and veggies. Part of good cooking, after all, means knowing how to make the most out of the very least. 

 
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