The Trick to Cooking with Bacon Without Using Bacon: Alderwood Finishing Salts

By Melissa Schneider December 10, 2013 No Comments on The Trick to Cooking with Bacon Without Using Bacon: Alderwood Finishing Salts

Abbot OrganicsThis year, give the gift of cooking with bacon WITHOUT USING BACON.  I know, I know, it sounds like some kind of food magic trick, but I assure you this trick is deliciously real.  Get ready to impress the cooks, foodies, and vegetarians in your life with this holiday’s little gourmet secret:  alderwood-smoked finishing salts.  Just a few grains of this amazing stuff, sprinkled in during the last few minutes of cooking, and BAM, your dish is infused with a wonderful, smoky, bacon taste.  These celtic salts are smoked over alderwood, which leaves them not only all wonderful and bacon-y, but also practically calorie-free, not to mention organic and hand-crafted in California.  Need I say more?

Okay, I’ll say just a little bit more, since these tasty finishing salts are also infused with my other favorite ingredient:  garlic. Bunch of garlic on a French market

And this is not just any garlic—it’s hardneck garlic, which, if you didn’t know, has sort of a cult following among foodies.  Chefs from Rachael Ray to Jamie Oliver talk about this garlic like it’s a fine wine.  And in a Cook’s Illustrated taste test that pitted eight varieties of garlic against each other, hardneck garlics beat softnecks every time.  Hardneck garlics have a more complex flavor than softnecks, but they also need to be hand-harvested and have a shorter shelf-life, so your grocery store doesn’t carry them.  Head to your local farmer’s market and look for the garlic with a long green sprout coming out of the top.

Heirloom Garlic Infused Smoked Alderwood SaltOr, get the Heirloom Garlic-Infused Alderwood Salt from Abbott Organics and save yourself the trouble.  Todd and Carol Abbott, the husband-and-wife farming team behind the brand, make these salts themselves using hardneck garlic grown on their very own organic farm.

I spoke with Carol just last week to get the scoop on their smoking and infusing methods.  While she couldn’t tell me all their secrets, the process involves smoking a coarse grain salt over alderwood, then drying it over fresh-pressed garlic at very low temperatures in a solar oven.  Cool, eh?  This method is labor-intensive and time-consuming, but it’s the only way to ensure that the alderwood and garlic flavors get totally infused into the salts.  This is the real deal, folks: a truly artisan product.

These salts makes a wonderful rub for chicken or steak, and are the perfect finishing touch for hearty soups, roasted vegetables, and mashed potatoes.  They are packed with flavor, so just a few grains will do the trick.

Doesn’t all of this talk make you want to start cooking with bacon without using bacon?  Abbot Organics makes it easy to give their finishing salts away as a gift.  You can order a 5-pack, and each one will arrive in air-tight, BPA-free packaging with a cheery recipe booklet tied around it.  Keep one for yourself and give away the rest!

Post to Pantry:  There is still time to get your order before Christmas.  Order before the end of December and we’ll even throw in Free Shipping.  Go to the Abbott Organics Store on Fooducopia to choose from Garlic-Infused Alderwood Salt, Garlic-Infused Celtic Grey Salt, or try both with the Gift Set.  Enjoy!

Photo 1 courtesy of Abbott Organics
Photo 2 from Matthew Amster-Burton’s “The Stinking Rose: Not All Garlic is the Same.”

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