This old Savannah holiday party favorite is so simple to make: just stir it together and bake until it’s heated through. It’s even easier with The Salt Table’s Dave’s House Salt, which is perfect with seafood. Other good pairings are The Salt Table’s Truffle Salt used together with Old Man River Blend or Tybee Island Coastal Blend.
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ pound picked claw crabmeat
¼ cup minced scallion or other green onion
Dave’s House Salt or Old Man River Blend
Black Truffle Salt (only if using Old Man River Blend)
How to make it:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375° F. Whip the cream cheese and then blend in the mayonnaise until smooth. Fold in the crabmeat and onion and season well with Dave’s House Salt or with Old Man River Blend and Truffle Salt. Transfer it to a lightly buttered 1-quart baking dish or 8-inch gratin dish and smooth the top.
Bake until hot through, about 15-20 minutes. Serve it directly from the baking dish or transfer it to a chafing dish, offering crackers or toast rounds to go with it
Because one of the ingredients in Dave’s House Salt is porcini mushrooms, you can omit the dried porcini mushrooms, but they’re the secret to a really rich mushroom flavor. Other great seasonings that pair well with this recipe are The Salt Table’s Porcini Mushroom Salt and Black Truffle Salt.
To make this into a sturdy spread, omit the mayonnaise, cut the sour cream to ½ cup, and add a softened 8-ounce package of cream cheese.
Makes about 3 cups
½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1 pound small crimini (brown or baby bella) mushrooms
2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced
4 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
Salt Table’s Dave’s House Salt
Crackers, melba toast rounds, pita chips, or scoop type corn chips, for serving
How to make it:
Put the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl, pour the boiling water over them, and let them soak until softened, about 15-30 minutes. Lift the reconstituted mushrooms from their soaking liquid, squeezing them dry over the bowl, and set them aside. Strain their soaking liquid through paper towel or coffee filter and set it aside as well. Clean the fresh mushrooms with a dry cloth or paper towels, trim, and thickly slice or quarter them.
Put the onion, half the butter, and half the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium low heat. Cover tightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have sweated out their liquid and are softened, about10-15 minutes. Remove the lid, raise the heat, and cook, stirring often, until the liquid is completely evaporated. Stirring almost constantly, cook until onions are golden brown. Remove them from the pan and let them cool.
Add the remaining butter and oil to the pan, let it get hot, and add the fresh mushrooms. Sauté until beginning to color and add the reconstituted mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Bring to a boil, and cook until the liquid is evaporated. Let it cool, then transfer to a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until they’re chopped fine but not pureed.
Blend together the sour cream and mayonnaise until smooth. Fold in the mushrooms, onions, and parsley. Season to taste with Dave’s House Salt. Cover, and chill for at least 2-3 hours. Taste and adjust the seasonings and transfer the dip to a serving bowl. Sprinkle it with parsley and serve with crackers, melba toast rounds, or pita chips.
Once upon a time, pork tenderloins, sliced, pan-fried, and stuffed into piping hot biscuits was a special farmer’s breakfast treat during the fall and winter months, since those were the only times this rare cut was available. Today they’re available all year long and this makes a great inexpensive party hors d’oeuvres. The Salt Table’s Hostess City Blend is a perfect match for pork, especially when it’s pan-fried like this. Other great seasoning to pair with them are The Salt Table’s Spanish Moss Blend, Dave’s House Salt, and salt-free Old Man River Blend.
Some like a dollop of chutney or fig preserves added to each biscuit.
If you’re too intimidated by making biscuits, Mary B’s frozen biscuits are actually quite good and can be substituted for the from-scratch biscuits suggested here. (See Biscuits recipe below)
Serves 6 to 8
1 pork tenderloin, about 1-1¼-pounds
The Salt Table Hostess City Blend
All-purpose flour spread on a plate plus 1 rounded teaspoon if making gravy
1 dozen hot Buttermilk Biscuits (recipe follows)
How to make it:
Trim the tenderloin of membrane and excess fat and remove the silverskin. Pat it dry with a paper towel and cut it crosswise into ½-inch-thick medallions. Lay them between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper on a sturdy work surface and lightly beat them out to a little less than ¼-inch thick. Season all sides well with Savannah Spanish Moss Blend.
Film a large a large cast iron skillet with olive oil and warm it over medium-high heat. When the fat is hot (an edge of the meat should sizzle when dipped into it) quickly roll the medallions in flour, shake off the excess, and slip them into the pan. Fry quickly, turning several times, until they’re browned and just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes altogether. Take care not to overcook them.
Take them up to a warm serving platter and turn off the heat. While the biscuits are hot, split them in half by tearing them open. Fill each with a tenderloin medallion and serve immediately, while piping hot.
Makes 12-15, depending on the size
2 cups Southern soft-wheat flour or soft wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon The Salt Table Fine Sea or Himalayan Pink Salt
4 tablespoons chilled lard or shortening, cut into small bits
¾-1 cup whole-milk buttermilk or plain whole-milk yogurt thinned with milk to buttermilk consistency
How to make it:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 500°. Sift or whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the lard and cut it in with a pastry blender until it’s the texture of grits or polenta meal with lumps the size of small peas. Do not over-blend; the small lumps of shortening are what will make the biscuits flaky.
Make a well in the center and pour in 3/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix with as few strokes as possible until the dough clumps together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, adding milk by the spoonful until the dough is no longer crumbly.
Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat out 1-inch thick. Fold it in half and pat flat again. Repeat twice more, then lightly flour the surface and roll it out ½-¾-inch thick. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour before each cut, cut straight down without twisting into 12 biscuits. When cutting at the edges, be sure that there is a cut side all the way around. Lay them on an un-greased baking sheet; for very light, fluffy biscuits with soft edges, let them on touch; for crisper biscuits (the kind I prefer), space them at least half an inch apart.
There will be left over scraps: rework by lightly gathering them into a lump, gently fold it over itself and pat flat. Pat and fold as before about 3 times, just until the scraps hold together, then pat it out ½-¾-inch thick and cut. To help the tops brown, some cooks brush them with milk or melted butter. Bake until they’re risen and golden brown on top, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Salt Table’s Dave’s House Salt, with its porcini mushroom, really boosts the flavor of cultivated mushrooms and is the perfect simple seasoning for this simple bruschetta topping. Another great combination would be either the Salt Table’s Wild Porcini or Black Truffle Salts paired with Old Man River Blend.
Serves 4 to 8
¾ pound brown (crimini) mushrooms
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
About 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, peeled but left whole
Salt Table Dave’s House Salt
16 ½-inch thick slices baguette
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh parsley
How to make it:
Wipe the mushrooms clean with a dry paper towel and thinly slice them. Melt the butter in 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they’re beginning to color. Season well with Dave’s House Salt and toss well. If they’ve thrown off any liquid, continue cooking, stirring, until it’s evaporated. Turn off the heat. The mushrooms can be prepared several hours ahead. Let cool and cover until needed.
Heat an iron griddle or large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, adjust the heat to medium-low, brush one side of the bread with olive oil and put it in the pan, oiled side down. Toast until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes, brush the tops with oil, and turn them over. While the upper sides are still quite hot, rub lightly with the garlic clove. Meanwhile, reheat the mushrooms over medium low heat. Add a squeeze or so of lemon juice, to taste, stir, and turn off the heat. When the crostini are ready, top them with the mushrooms. Garnish with parsley and serve warm.
Meatballs are a great hot appetizer, and can be varied by simmering them in just about any sauce. Here the sauce is based on the French classic beef stew a la bourguignon, but you can change it up by substituting barbecue, marinara, a Southeast-Asian-style spicy-sweet sauce, or even your favorite Stroganoff.
Dave’s House Salt, with its onion, garlic, porcini mushrooms, and spicy jalapeno, is a great blend for this, but you might also try a combination of Salt Table’s Porcini or Black Truffle Salt and Old Man River Blend, both in the meatballs and the sauce.
Makes about 48-50 small cocktail meatballs, serving 8-12
2 ounces (about 1 cup) finely chopped brown (crimini or baby bella) mushrooms
¼ cup flour
3 cups French Burgundy or Pinot Noir
2 cups beef broth
1 rounded tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
Salt Table’s Dave’s House Salt
How to make it:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 400° F. Put the bread in a mixing bowl and drizzle enough milk over it to saturate it. Let it soak for a minute, then squeeze it dry, discarding the milk. Crumble the bread back into the bowl. Crumble in the beef, season well with House Salt, and mix well.
Rub a large rimmed sheet pan with oil. Moisten your hands with water and form the meat into 1-inch balls, laying them on the prepared pan as you go with about ½-inch between them. When all the meatballs have been shaped and placed on the pan, put them in the center of the oven and bake until they’re nicely browned, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: put the bacon in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until it’s browned and it’s fat is rendered. Add the onion and sauté until softened but not coloring, about 2 minutes. Then add the carrot and sauté 2 minutes more. Add the chopped mushrooms and sauté until they’re beginning to color, about 4 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour into the pan and stir until smooth. Slowly stir in the wine and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. Then add the broth, bring it to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in the tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf, and season to taste with Dave’s House Salt. Bring it back to a simmer, and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the meatballs to the sauce, bring it back to a boil, and adjust the heat to the slowest possible simmer. Simmer until the sauce is thickened and the meatballs are deeply infused with its flavor, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. They can be made ahead: cool, cover, and refrigerate them for up to 4 days. Reheat them gently over medium low heat. Serve from a chafing dish or slow-cooker set to “keep warm.”
Salt Table Leek, Chive, & Onion Dip and Seasoning Blend
Potted cheese, a blend of grated cheese, butter, whiskey, is an old way of keeping cheese in the house in the days before refrigeration. Modern recipes often call for chives and/or minced green onions, which do add flavor but shorten the shelf life. Salt Table’s Leek, Chive, and Onion Dip and Seasoning Blend lends the same fresh flavor without adding an element that will spoil quickly, which means it will keep for weeks, well-covered in the refrigerator.Ingred
Makes about 2 cups
8 ounces (½ pound) well-aged cheddar such as Kerrygold Reserve Irish cheddar or Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar, grated
1 tablespoon (or more, to taste) Salt Table Leek, Chive, & Onion Seasoning and Dip Blend
Crackers or melba toast rounds, for serving
How to make it:
Combine the cheese, butter, and mustard in bowl of food processor and process until smooth. Or combine in mixing bowl and whip with electric mixer at medium-high speed until smooth.
Whip in the whiskey a tablespoon at a time. Then season well with Leek, Chive, and Onion Blend. Transfer it to crock, cover, and let sit at least 1 hour.
Taste and adjust the Seasoning Blend and let sit at least 30 minutes to allow the seasoning to meld. If not serving within another hour, cover and refrigerate until needed. Let warm to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving as a spread with crackers or toast rounds.
This Salt Table’s Taco Seasoning doesn’t have to be limited to tacos. It simplifies red chili sauce the making red chili sauce, which is the base for all kinds of Tex-Mex and Mexican dishes. Don’t want to go to the trouble of rolling up individual enchiladas? Simply layer the beef and bean mixture and cheese blend with corn tortillas that have been cut in half, just as you would make lasagna.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ pounds ground beef
Salt Table Taco Seasoning
1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and diced
½ cup (or to taste) diced canned green chilies, drained
Red Chili Sauce (recipe follows)
2 cups (1 15½ ounce can) pinto or black beans, drained
12 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded Mexican quesadilla or Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar
Sliced green onions and chopped cilantro for garnish, optional
How to make it:
Put the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot but not smoking add enough beef to cover bottom without crowding and stir until lightly browned. Remove and repeat with remaining beef. Season it very lightly with The Salt Table Taco Seasoning.
Spoon off all but a tablespoon of fat from the pan and add the onion. Sauté, stirring, until translucent and softened, but not colored. Return the meat to pan, add the chilies, 2 cups of sauce, and the beans. Stir well and simmer 20-30 minutes.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 350° F. Rub a 9×13-inch casserole with oil. Spoon some of the meat mixture down center of a tortilla, sprinkle with both cheeses, roll up, and put it into casserole, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining meat, cheese, and tortillas, reserving ½ cup cheese for topping.
Knap the enchiladas lightly with Red Chili Sauce, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and bake until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 20-30 minutes. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and cilantro if liked before serving. Pass the remaining sauce passed separately.
Red Chili Sauce
You can make this sauce using only The Salt Table’s Taco Seasoning, but a little extra cumin and added oregano really make the flavor pop.
Makes 4 cups
¼ cup (4 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (4 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
About 2 tablespoons Salt Table Taco Seasoning (to taste)
Over medium heat, whisk together flour and oil in heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk in the Taco Seasoning, cumin, and oregano and whisk until bubbly, smooth, and fragrant.
Slowly whisk in the broth, bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, and whisk in tomato paste. Add a teaspoon of sugar, adjust heat to slow simmer, and simmer 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the Taco Seasoning and sugar and simmer 2-3 minutes longer. Can be made several days ahead. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
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)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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
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:
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.
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 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.
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:
Pick over the crabmeat for bits of shell and put it in mixing bowl. Add the scallion and garlic and gently toss to mix.
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.
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.
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.
This is perfect for holiday entertaining or to warm up a blustery night with the family. The Salt Table’s Savannah Summer Salt and Taco Seasoning simplify the flavorings and make putting it together a snap.
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef chuck, preferably from grass-fed cattle
1-2 ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped, optional
2-3 Jalapeno peppers stemmed, cored, seeded and diced, optional
HOW TO MAKE IT:
Warm the oil in a 10-inch skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Crumble in the beef, raise the heat to medium-high, and sauté, tossing or stirring occasionally, until it has lost its raw, red color and is beginning to brown. Remove it from the pan and add the onion. Sauté until it is golden and softened, about 4 minutes.
Return the beef to the pan. Season well with Summer Salt and Taco Seasoning. Add the tomatoes, chili sauce, and broth and bring it to a simmer. Adjust the heat to a slow simmer and let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and the beef is tender, about an hour—longer won’t hurt it.
When ready to serve, stir in the cheese and transfer to a warm serving dish, chafing dish, or slow cooker set on low. Garnish if liked with tomato and jalapeno peppers (or a milder pepper if you prefer) and serve with corn or tortilla chips. You may also offer the dip plain with tortilla chips and serve the cheese and optional garnishes on the side, to be added by each guest.