Scroll down for links to links to the “Opera Blends” and fantastic recipes by Damon Lee Fowler

 

“The Opera Collection” of seasoning blends was created by The Salt Table to honor and support the annual Savannah Voice Festival.

At least $1.00 of each bottle and $4.50 per collection sold goes to the organization to support its amazing efforts to promote music and the many people in its organizations who enrich our lives.

Over the years The Salt Table has designed hand-blended seasoning blends that have been featured at Galas in NYC. These annual Galas honor the best of Opera. Three of those blends are now available for you to enjoy and with every purchase you are helping to support this fine organization:

The Carmen Blendwith the touch of Spanish Sass! Great on vegetables, meats, and starches. All natural ingredients:  Himalayan pink salt, white peppercorns, pink peppercorns, shallot, lavender, rosemary, basil, chive, turmeric, lemon, vegetable colorants

The Wagner Blendwith the touch of German Boldness!  Great on vegetables, meats, eggs, and starches. All natural ingredients:  Salt (from Halle, Germany), mixed peppercorns, onion, garlic, parsley, chili pepper, red pepper, cayenne, cumin, oregano

The Boheme Blendwith the touch of Italian Pizazz! Great on vegetables, meats, eggs, and starches. All natural ingredients:  Himalayan pink salt, garlic, onion, peppercorns, basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, cilantro

 

More about the Savannah Voice Festival:

Founders Sherrill Milnes and Maria Zouves.

VOICExperience was founded on the musical principles of a golden age of opera. During the long and prolific career of its founder, Sherrill Milnes, the generation of artists with whom he collaborated represented some of the great singers, directors and conductors in the history of opera.

Richard Tucker, Robert Merrill, Leontyne Price, Anna Moffo, Joan Sutherland, Renata Tebaldi, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Franco Zefferelli, Karl Boehm, George Solti, Herbert Von Karajan and so many other legends have shared the stage with the founder, teacher and musical force behind VOICExperience.

Milnes passes his experiences, insight and musical knowledge onto the young artists who attend these programs. His guidance enables them to keep the great traditions of opera alive today for audiences to experience and enjoy.

Sherrill Milnes is universally acclaimed as the foremost operatic baritone of his generation. With his powerful voice, commanding stage presence and rugged handsomeness, he received the kind of adulation that is usually reserved for tenors. He sang over 650 performances at the Met, where he was honored with sixteen new productions, seven opening nights, and ten national telecasts. As a leading artist in all of the world’s great opera houses, Mr. Milnes performed and recorded with the likes of Domingo, Pavarotti, Sutherland, Sills, Horne, Price, and Tebaldi. He is the winner of three Grammy Awards, and the most recorded American singer of his time. In 2008 he received the Opera News Award for Distinguished Achievement.

Maria Zouves is an educator, director, producer and writer. She is Executive Director of the Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs − VOICExperience Foundation and the Savannah VOICE Festival – which she co-founded with her husband, Sherrill Milnes, to provide training for aspiring young artists and foster new audiences for the vocal arts. The Greek-American soprano has sung leading roles in the regional U.S., made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1997, and has recorded under the VAI label. While Maria directs most of the concerts in the VOICE Programs and co-directed the new SVF opera commission, Ching’s Alice Ryley, a Savannah ghost story, she most recently directed Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre in Prague, where the work first premiered and co-directed Le Nozze de Figaro with Sherrill Milnes in Prague and Salzburg with Prague Summer Nights.

Click HERE for more information about the Savannah Voice Festival.

 

Wotan Lieb Schnitzel (Breaded Cutlets of Veal or Chicken)

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table Wagner Blend 

Refined schnitzel is made with veal, but schwein (pork) schnitzel, made from the loin or tenderloin, is a fraction of the cost of veal, and for my money, far more flavorful. You may also use boneless chicken breast cutlets. The Salt Table’s Wagner blend, made with Germany’s own Halle salt, is the perfect seasoning for this classic dish.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pork tenderloin, about 1-to-1¼ pounds, or 4 large veal scaloppine or boneless chicken breast
  • The Salt Table Wagner/Wotan Blend in a mill
  • About ½ cup flour, spread on a plate
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten in a soup plate
  • About 1 cup Panko or dry bread crumbs, generously seasoned with several grindings of The Salt Table Wagner/Wotan Blend and spread on a soup plate
  • About 1 cup clarified butter or 4 tablespoons unsalted butter and olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges

How to make it:

  1. Trim the tenderloin, removing the silver-skin and fat. Cut the thickest part of the center crosswise into 4 equal rounds 1¼-inches thick. Set aside the ends for another use. Put the 4 center cuts round side up on a sheet of plastic wrap spread over a sturdy work surface. Lay a second sheet of wrap over them and lightly pound them out to a little less than ¼-inch thick. If using veal, lightly pound them out to a uniform thinness of less than ¼-inch. If using chicken, split them in half horizontally before pounding them out, taking care not to be too vigorous with the pounding. Generously grind the seasoning blend over both sides of the cutlets.
  2. Dust them with flour, coating both sides, and gently shake off the excess. One at a time, dip them in the egg, coating both sides and allowing the excess egg to flow back into the bowl, then lay the cutlet on the crumbs, turning and patting to coat both sides. Put the breaded cutlets on a clean, dry plate or wire cooling rack and them let stand 30 minutes to allow the breading to set. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat it to 200° F. or the warm setting.
  3. Over medium heat, melt enough clarified butter (or the unsalted butter and enough oil) to cover the bottom of heavy-bottomed skillet by at about ¼-inch. When it’s hot, raise the heat to medium-high and put in enough cutlets to fill the pan without crowding. Fry until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Turn and brown the second side, about 2 minutes longer. Remove them from the pan to a wire cooling rack and keep warm in the oven while the remaining cutlets fry. Serve hot with lemon.

Wagner Blend, One of Three Opera Blends

Valhalla Potato Salad

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table Wagner Blend 

Hot German potato salad is always a crowd-pleaser, so why wouldn’t it please the Gods in the great hall of Valhalla? The Salt Table Wagner Blend, fashioned with Germany’s Halle salt, is the perfect mate with this classic salad’s traditional sweet-sour bacon vinaigrette.

Serves 6

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 medium waxy potatoes, about 2½-2¾-pounds
  • 3 strips extra-thick-cut bacon, diced small
  • 1 medium yellow onion, trimmed, split lengthwise, peeled, and diced
  • 1 large rib celery, diced
  • ¼ cup diced dill or sweet cucumber pickle
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • About 1 rounded teaspoon sugar
  • The Salt Table Wagner Blend

How to make it:

  1. Scrub the potatoes and put them in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with enough water to cover them by an inch. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat to a steady simmer and cook until the potatoes are just tender and can be easily pierced with a sharp knife. Drain, cover, and let them stand a few minutes. Uncover and let them cool enough to handle, then peel and slice them ¼-inch thick. Cut large slices in half.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until it’s browned and its fat is rendered, about 5-6 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add the celery and pickle. Deglaze the pan with ½ cup water, stirring and scraping to loosen any cooking residue, and let it boil until it is reduced by half. Stir in the vinegar and sugar. Bring it to a simmer and season well with Wagner Blend. Turn off the heat.
  3. Add the potatoes to the pan and gently toss to coat them with the hot vinaigrette. Taste and adjust the Wagner Blend and sugar as needed. Can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Wagner Blend, One of Three Opera Blends

Fire Steaks Brünhilde

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table Wagner Blend 

At the end of the second ring opera, Wotan punishes his daughter Brünhilde by putting her on a rock surrounded by a magic impenetrable fire. Well, what else can a girl do at that point but grill a steak on that fire and nap until Siegfried shows up to rescuer her?

Fortunately, the Salt Table’s Wagner Blend makes a great steak rub.

When is it done? Don’t try to rely on touch: use a meat thermometer that you know to be accurate. Here’s a quick reference guide of internal temperatures.

Serves 4

“Rare” (warm, soft, deep red center):                                                           110-120 degrees F
“Medium rare” (warm, medium-firm, red center:                                          125-130 degrees F
“Medium” (warm, firm red center):                                                                130-135 degrees F
“Medium well” (hot pink-red center):                                                             140-145 degrees F

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 strip, filet, or rib steaks, or 1 sirloin, not less than 1¼ and up to-2-inches thick
  • Olive oil
  • The Salt Table Wagner Blend
  • 2-4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

How to make it:

  1. Wrap meat in several layers of paper towel. Let sit 5 minutes. Unwrap and rub lightly with olive oil and generously with Wagner Blend. Set aside while getting the grill ready.
  2. Prepare a regular grill with lump hardwood charcoal (not briquettes) and let them burn to a medium-hot fire. If using a gas grill, preheat it for 10-15 minutes. If using hardwood coals, spread them in an even layer over half the grill. Set grill rack 4-to- 6 inches above heat (depending on how hot coals are).
  3. Lightly brush the steaks with more oil. Sear them over direct heat, about 2 minutes per side for 1¼-inch thick steaks, about 3 per side for steaks that are a full 2-inches thick. Move them to the side without coals or turn off the gas flame, cover, and cook to desired doneness (see the chart above), about 2-3 minutes longer.

Wagner Blend, One of Three Opera Blends

Carmen’s Mountain Hideout Stuffed Mushroom Tapas

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table Carmen Blend 

Stuffed vegetables are a popular tapas in modern Spain, but Carmen’s compatriots in her mountain hideout would love them because they can be eaten right out of the hand. The Salt Table’s Carmen Blend is the perfect seasoning for mushrooms and ham.

Serves 8-12 as an appetizer

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 24 medium cremini (brown) mushrooms
  • About 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, crushed, peeled, and minced
  • 2 ounces (½ cup) minced Serrano, prosciutto, or country ham
  • 1 cup fine stale (not dry) bread crumbs
  • Salt Table Carmen Blend
  • Dry sherry

How to make it:

  1. Brush away any dirt that may be clinging to the mushrooms with a clean, dry cloth or soft brush. Remove the stems and chop them fine. Set both stems and whole caps aside.
  2. Put 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic in a medium skillet over medium heat. Sauté, tossing often, until fragrant and golden. Add the chopped mushroom stems and sauté until opaque and glossy, about 3 minutes. Add the ham, toss until it loses its raw red color, and turn off the heat.
  3. Add the crumbs, toss until well mixed, and season well with Carmen Blend. Moisten well with a sprinkling of sherry and a little more olive oil. Toss well, taste, and adjust the sherry and Carmen Blend.
  4. Lightly rub a large baking dish with olive oil. Sprinkle the inside of each mushroom cap lightly with Carmen Blend, and divide the stuffing among them, mounding it up in the center. Put mushrooms into the prepared dish. They can be made several hours ahead to this point. Cover with damp paper towels.
  5. About 45 minutes before serving, position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375° F. Drizzle the mushrooms with more olive oil, and bake until the lightly browned and the caps are tender, about 20 minutes. Serve at once; stuffed mushrooms don’t reheat very well.

Carmen Blend, One of Three Opera Blends

Spicy Meatballs Carmen & Romesco Sauce Carmen (two recipes)

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table Carmen Blend 

A terrific tapas (the Spanish “small bites” served in bars and sidewalk cafés), these are also a fine main dish and so easy to season using The Salt Table’s Carmen Blend. Serve in individual dishes or in a chafing dish, letting guests help themselves. As Carmen would say, “Prends garde à toi!”—they’re addictive!

(See Romesco Sauce Recipe below)

Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound ground beef, preferably chuck, or ½ pound ground beef and ½ pound lean ground pork
  • ½ medium yellow onion, trimmed, split lengthwise, peeled, and finely chopped
  • 1 cup soft breadcrumbs
  • 1 rounded tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • About 2 teaspoons The Salt Table Carmen Blend
  • Olive or vegetable oil, for frying
  • About 1 cup beef broth
  • Romesco Sauce Carmen (recipe follows)

 

How to make Spicy Meatballs with Carmen Blend

  1. Combine the meat, onion, crumbs, and parsley and season with Carmen Blend. To taste for seasoning, pinch off a small bit, shape it into a flat cake and cook it through in a small pan with a few drops of olive oil, about 2 minutes per side. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Wet your hands and lightly roll into 24 even balls, laying them on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Film the bottom of a large, seasoned iron skillet or nonstick pan with olive oil and turn on the heat to medium. When the oil is hot, add enough meatballs to fill the pan without crowding and brown them well on all sides. Transfer them to a platter and repeat with the remaining meatballs. Alternatively, you may brown them in the oven on a large, rimmed, non-stick baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 425° F., rub the baking sheet with oil, and space the meatballs on it about an inch apart. Bake 10 minutes, then carefully turn the meatballs and bake 6-8 minute longer.
  3. Spoon off any excess fat and return the meatballs to the pan (if you’ve browned them in the oven, transfer them to large pan that will hold them in 1 layer. Add enough broth to almost half-cover them. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat to a slow simmer, loosely cover, and simmer until cooked through, about 30 minutes, turning occasionally. The liquid should reduce and mostly evaporated, but don’t let it dry up completely. Add water (not broth) by spoonfuls as needed.
  4. Remove the lid and if the liquid isn’t mostly evaporated, raise the heat and let it evaporate. Stir in the Romesco and let it warm through. Serve in small tapas dishes or bowls. They can be made ahead: transfer to a storage container, cover, and refrigerate. When ready to serve them, gently reheat in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
  5. (See how to make Romesco Blend below)

Romesco Sauce with Carmen Blend:

There are many variations of Romesco sauce. This one is based on one of the Catalan versions. This can be a separate recipe and is a good dip for vegetables or sturdy corn chips.

Makes about 2½ cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole raw almonds
  • 1 medium red bell pepper or the equivalent of roasted red bell peppers from a jar, rinsed
  • 3 large cloves garlic, lightly crushed, peeled, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • The Salt Table Carmen Blend
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

How to Make Spicy Meatballs with Carmen Blend:

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350° F. Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven until lightly colored at the center. Meanwhile, if using a fresh pepper, roast it over an open flame or in the oven at 400° F. until the skin blisters and blackens. Peel, seed, and cut it into uniform chunks.
  2. Process the almonds in a food processor fitted with the steel blade until finely ground. Add the roasted pepper, garlic, and tomato paste, and process until puréed. Add the vinegar and a generous teaspoon of Carmen Blend. Process until smooth. With the motor running, gradually add the oil in a thin, steady stream. Taste and adjust the Carmen Blend and pulse to blend. The sauce can be made ahead. It will keep, covered

Carmen Blend, One of Three Opera Blends

Carmen’s Cool Crab-Stuffed Tomato Tapas

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table Carmen Blend Marinated Crab Salad

Carmen Blend marries well with just about any fish, seafood and fresh produce. You can substitute or add to the crab if you like: flaked cooked fish such as snapper, or cooked small shrimp, bay scallops, squid, and/or octopus cut into very small pieces.

Serves 4-16

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound (2 tightly-packed cups) picked crabmeat, preferably both lump and claw meat
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced small scallions (about 3-4), both white and green parts or minced red onion
  • 1 large or 2 medium cloves garlic, lightly crushed, peeled, and finely minced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1-to-1-1/2 lemons
  • The Salt Table Carmen Blend
  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes, 8 small Roma tomatoes, or a 24-36 mini San Marzano or cherry tomatoes
  • The Salt Table Fine Sea Salt
  • Smoked paprika and/or basil leaves, optional, for garnish

How to Make It:

  1. Pick over the crabmeat for bits of shell and put it in mixing bowl. Add the scallion and garlic and gently toss to mix.
  2. Lightly drizzle it with olive oil and toss until lightly but evenly coated. Sprinkle with the juice from 1 lemon, gently toss, then season lightly with Carmen Blend. Gently toss again and let it stand 15-20 minutes. Taste, adjust the Carmen Blend and lemon juice, and toss again. Cover and refrigerated at least 1 hour or until needed; can be made up to a day ahead.
  3. About half an hour before serving, cut off about 1/4-inch of top (stem end) of the medium tomatoes, halve the Roma or mini San Marzano tomatoes lengthwise, or cap the cherry tomatoes. Carefully scoop out their seeds and inner pulp, leaving only outer flesh to form shell. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and invert over wire rack set in sink. Drain at least 20 minutes.
  4. To serve, gently pat tomato shells dry. Spoon crabmeat into tomato shells. If liked, garnish with paprika and/or basil leaves and serve. The larger tomatoes can be served as an appetizer course at the table, on a lettuce leaf with crackers or toast on the side.

Carmen Blend, One of Three Opera Blends

Pasta alla Violetta Tagliatelle with Chanterelle Mushrooms and Boheme Blend

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table Boheme Blend

“Chanterelle” is French for “little singers,” presumably because these delicate mushrooms look a bit like a singer’s open mouth. Simply sautéed in butter and seasoned lightly with The Salt Table Boheme Blend, they’re tossed with egg pasta noodles from Verdi’s home town of Parma, but they’re equally good with factory pasta. Chanterelles are seasonal, so if you’re not able to find them, cultivated shiitake and oyster mushrooms can be substituted.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms, or shiitake or oyster mushrooms, mixed
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot, split lengthwise, peeled, and minced (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ lemon
  • The Salt Table Boheme Blend
  • 12 ounces fresh egg tagliatelle, fettuccine, or short pasta such as fusilli or penne
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

How to Make It:

  1. Gently clean the mushrooms with a dry cloth or soft brush. Halve or thickly slice the larger ones, but leave small ones whole.
  2. Put 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet or sauté pan. Return the pan to medium heat and let the butter melt. Add the shallots and sauté, tossing often, until just beginning to color, about 4 minutes. Add the chanterelles and sauté, tossing gently, until they have started to collapse. Season lightly with Boheme Blend, then squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice. Toss, taste, and adjust the lemon juice and Boheme Blend. Cook until the mushrooms are tender. Turn off the heat.
  3. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a 6 quart pot. When the water begins boiling, stir in a small handful of salt, then stir in the pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente, stirring occasionally. Just before it’s done, gently reheat the mushrooms over medium-low heat.
  4. When the pasta is ready, drain and add it to the mushrooms with the remaining butter and ¼ cup of the cheese. Toss well and add another ¼ cup of cheese, then serve at once, passing the remaining cheese separately.

Boheme Blend, One of Three Opera Blends

Gala Gamberi alla Romana (Sautéed Shrimp Roman Style with Boheme Blend)

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table Boheme Blend

This be served alone as a main dish or appetizer, with crusty bread for sopping the juice, or as a sauce for linguine or fettuccine. The Salt Table’s Boheme Blend makes the seasoning a snap. If you use it as a pasta sauce, squeeze in lemon juice to taste after tossing the shrimp with the pasta. It should not be served with cheese.

Serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as an appetizer

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1¼ pounds medium to large shrimp
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, lightly crushed, peeled, and minced
  • 2 finely chopped anchovy filets or about 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • ¾ cup dry white vermouth or dry white wine
  • The Salt Table Boheme Blend
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, optional
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges

How to Make It:

  1. Peel the shrimp and pat them dry. Put the oil and garlic in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Sauté until fragrant but not colored, about 5-10 seconds after it begins to sizzle. Add the anchovy paste and stir until it dissolves into the oil.
  2. Deglaze the pan with vermouth, bring it to a boil, and cook, stirring, until it’s reduced by 2/3 and syrupy. Add the shrimp and season liberally with Boheme Blend. Toss until just curled and pink, about 1 minute. Add the parsley, if using, and, toss until the shrimp are just cooked through, about a minute longer, depending on their size.
  3. Turn them out onto a platter and serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

Boheme Blend, One of Three Opera Blends

Tagliatelle Verdi (Green Noodles with Boheme Blend)

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table Boheme Blend

In this classic pasta dish from Giuseppe Verdi’s home town (Parma), the name isn’t a reference to the famed opera composer but to the actual color of the noodles. (If Verdi had been born in England, his name would’ve been “Joe Green. Never mind.) The sauce is exquisitely simple, being nothing but good butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and The Salt Table’s Boheme Blend.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • The Salt Table fine sea salt
  • 12 ounces green tagliatelle or fettucine pasta noodles
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • About 2 teaspoons The Salt Table Boheme Blend, freshly ground
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

How to Make It:

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a heavy-bottomed 6-8-quart pot. Slowly stir in a small handful of salt and the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 1-2 minutes for fresh pasta, 4-6 minutes for dried pasta. While the pasta cooks, mix the butter and 1 rounded teaspoon of Boheme Blend in a large, wide bowl.
  2. When the pasta is ready, reserve a few spoonfuls of its cooking water and lightly drain it. Add the pasta to the bowl with the butter and Boheme blend and toss well. If it seems a bit dry, add a spoonful or two of the reserved cooking water. Add ¼ cup cheese, toss well, and add another ¼ cup cheese. Taste and add Boheme Blend as needed. Toss and serve with the remaining cheese passed separately.

Boheme Blend, One of Three Opera Blends