The Power of Salt
Remember when salt used to come only from those large cylindrical containers, and it was really just an afterthought, casually sprinkled atop your bland meal? I’m not sure what happened, but somewhere along this crazy foodie journey I ended up with six different kinds of salt that currently live on my kitchen counter (not to mention the salt block, for full-on salt cooking), and deciding which salt pairs with which dish is one of the toughest parts of cooking dinner.
I recently received a package of Salt Revolution’s Aztec Sea Salt, and I have to say this is one of my favorite ones yet. Harvested from Mexico’s Cuyutlán Lagoon over a 45-day period each year, it’s sorted by hand in small packages, and combines a beautiful, subtle salty flavor with just the right amount of crunch — it comes in big, flaky pieces, much smoother than a jagged piece of rock salt, so it settles in your mouth in just the right way. Their small-batch approach means that each harvesting season they sell salt until their supply is gone; you can sign up to find out when the new batch is available.
Adapting a dough recipe from one of my go-to cookbooks, The New Spanish Table, I whipped up this coca-dough flatbread, topped with onions, rosemary, pine nuts, pancetta and goat cheese…and of course, some finishing salt sprinkled on top!
Sea Salt Flatbread
Dough (Adapted from The New Spanish Table)
Place 1/3 cup lager beer, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 large beaten egg, 2 teaspoons coarse salt and 2/3 cup water in a large bowl and whisk to mix.
Add 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Knead briefly in the bowl, then turn out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in a covered, well-oiled bowl and let sit for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, chop up a few pieces of pancetta (not gonna lie, I buy the convenient pre-cubed stuff from Trader Joe’s) and lightly fry that for a few minutes. Slice one large white onion into thin strips, and finely chop one fresh rosemary sprig. Preheat oven to 425.
Brush a baking sheet with olive oil; spread your dough out on a floured work surface, and transfer it to the baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, then top with onions, rosemary, pancetta, and a handful (or more) of pine nuts. Bake for 15 more minutes.
Sprinkle a few handfuls of goat cheese on top, along with a generous sprinkling of Aztec Sea Salt.