This fall, Alex Figura, chef/partner at the Lower48 Kitchen in Denver, roasted whole pumpkins on top of hot coals, and marveled at the results. "They tasted like a campfire, all rich and roasty," he said. Figura was inspired to find a way to capture that charred flavor. He created a charcoal salt—a finely pulverized mix of charred onion skins, leek tops, and salt that he sprinkles over nearly everything in reach. "It's the texture of a fine sea salt, it has a lot of umami notes, and it gives vegetarians that flavor of meat they are sometimes missing," he says.