Recently my loving husband, Evan, announced he was going to make me dinner—he was determined to pull off chili. Ever since I graduated culinary school, I have been a bully in the kitchen, so on this night I decided to hang back and let Evan run the show. But no less than thirty minutes into making dinner, he called me into the kitchen. “He couldn’t do it without me,” I thought, smiling. He was having trouble getting the seasoning right; the chili was way too spicy and one-note, but even after trying all my usual tricks, I couldn’t balance it. Then I remembered the smoky garlic-infused salt that I had brought home from the SAVEUR test kitchen a few weeks prior. When we ordered garlic scapes from Abbott Organics—a farm in West Sacramento, California that specializes in heirloom garlic—they also sent along some of their salt blends for us to try. I grabbed the deep red variety, which had been smoked for days over Alderwood and then hand-chopped with heirloom garlic. Opening the package, I was struck by the strong savory and smoky aroma. A few pinches transformed the chili into a bold masterpiece; it’s become our new go-to recipe. Since the chili incident, I’ve been sprinkling Abbott’s salts on almost everything that comes out of my kitchen—the Alderwood smoked salt and their Celtic grey salt blend have pepped up everything from osso bucco to french fries.
Alderwood smoked garlic salt and Celtic grey sea salt, $3.99 for a 2-oz. bag, abbottorganics.com.