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Tuscan Herb Salt

The past week has been a bit of a blur for us, what with the packing, and shipping boxes home and the leave-taking and teary good-byes and hours spent in airplanes and airports and finally the homecoming and unpacking and organizing and settling back in.   Yes, we’ve traded in the 70-degree sun-soaked California beaches of the Circle B Kitchen West for our -4 degree, snow-covered homestead here in the Midwest.  Say what you will, but it’s home.  And really, there’s just no place like it.

But even with all that, somewhere towards the end of our stay in sunny CA, I got around to making this Tuscan herb salt that’s been on my to-do list for ages.  It did not disappoint.  Amazingly flavorful and easy to make, I can't imagine not having a jar of this around from now on.

So far I’ve used it to season some salmon I made the other night (I've included a link to the recipe below), sprinkled it over some fresh mozzarella drizzled with olive oil to marinate (yum), stirred some into yogurt cheese, and sprinkled it into our eggs this morning.  It lent a lovely herbaceousness to each of those dishes without being overpowering, and the aromas of this mixture are such that I can barely walk by the jar without sticking my nose in it. 


The recipe comes from Lynn Rosetto Kasper’s “The Splendid Table”, and she describes it as an essential seasoning in Tuscan kitchens.  No big mystery there… this is amazing stuff.  The basic recipe calls for fresh rosemary and sage.  I had some parsley and thyme on hand, so added those too (yes… parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme).  You can substitute your favorite herbs, but the rosemary and sage are traditional and fragrantly wonderful.  In Tuscany, it is mostly used to season pork, chicken and beef.  I will be sprinkling it on my focaccia too.

If you have a food processor, it’s a cinch to throw this together.  If you don’t, a sharp knife will be essential, and definitely still very do-able.   And really, once you get a whiff of this herb/garlic/salt mixture, you’re going to want it on everything.  OK, not everything, but definitely keep it close by for a bit of Tuscan aromatherapy.

Tuscan Herb Salt

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe courtesy of Sally Schneider via The Splendid Table

This is a classic herb salt used in Northern Italy.  It is good on just about anything. Use it as an essential seasoning for roasts of all kinds, but it’s also great on vegetables, beans, popcorn, potatoes, bread or eggs.  It's truly wonderful on fish... here's my salmon recipe which uses the herb salt to season the fish and also to create a creamy sauce for it.

The recipe calls for kosher salt, which I thought worked really well.  Diamond Crystal kosher salt is very good.  You can use other favorite salts for this, but do not use regular table salt (too salty), and I would stay away from grey salt because of its moisture content.

Hand chopping gives a slightly less-uniform salt and is surprisingly easy, but a food processor will get the job done in no time.


4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled
Between 1/3 and 1/2 cup kosher salt (I used close to 1/2 cup)
About 2 cups loosely-packed, pungent fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme (the traditional Tuscan version uses 50/50 sage and rosemary)

Hand-Chopped Method

1. Cut each garlic clove lengthwise through the center and remove the sprout (if any) in the center and discard.

2. Mound the salt and garlic on a cutting board. Use a chef's knife to mince the garlic, blending it with the salt as you work.

3. Place herbs in a mound and coarsely chop them. Add the herbs to the garlic salt and chop them together to the texture of coarse sand.

4. Can use this immediately, or spread the salt on a baking sheet or in wide flat bowls and leave them near an open window for a couple of days to dry. Store in clean, dry jars, or for gifts, pack into cello bags and tie with a ribbon.

Food Processor Method

1. Cut each garlic clove lengthwise through the center and remove the sprout (if any) in the center and discard.

2. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the garlic and 2 tablespoons of the salt. Pulse until the garlic is chopped medium-coarse. Add the herbs and continue pulsing until the mixture is the texture of very coarse sand. Transfer to a sheet pan and toss with the remaining salt.

3.  Can use this immediately, or spread the salt on a baking sheet or in wide flat bowls and leave them near an open window for a couple of days to dry. Store in clean, dry jars, or for gifts, pack into cello bags and tie with a ribbon.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Reader Comments (26)

This sounds like a perfect seasoning for fresh fish. Might have to give your salmon recipe a try!

February 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I've been looking for a good recipe for seasoning salt and this looks delicious.

February 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith F.

I bought an Italian herb salt a while back and I've almost used it up. I'm going to try your recipe instead of buying another jar of it. I think mine had oregano in it, so I might add it to the mix. Thanks for the idea!

February 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSonya

Let me know how it turns out, Sonya.

February 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Sounds delish!

A couple of questions:

* Can it be stored in a cool, dry cupboard or does it need to be refrigerated because of the fresh garlic?
* Can you use dried herbs, instead of fresh?

February 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWanda

Wow! I received something similar for Christmas and it's truly yummy. Nice to have a recipe for it to give next Christmas!!!

February 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLuci

The salt can be stored in the cupboard... No need to refrigerate. The salt in the mixture acts as a preservative. If you're going to store it though, be sure to to dry according to the directions. Good to hear from you, Wanda.

February 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

This really does make great gifts, Luci.

February 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

What a great idea! Can't wait to give this try! Thanks!

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMona

Referring back to 2nd question in Wanda's comment, can you use dried herbs instead of fresh?

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLuci

I'm sorry I forgot to answer that, Luci. I suppose you could use dried herbs, but if you use the fresh garlic, you would still want to dry this on the sheet pan. I'm afraid you will lose quite a bit of the flavor if you start with dried herbs. The fresh herbs are just so aromatic, even after drying a bit. Most stores carry fresh rosemary and sage, which is all you really need for this. Hope that answers your question. Fresh would probably be best, but for a quick version, you can try the dried.

February 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Thanks so much...that was my concern as well, but it could work "in a pinch" so to speak ^_^

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLuci

I'd love to hear back from you if you make this, Luci. Good stuff.

February 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

what a great idea.

February 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Food Hunter

Lordy, lordy. Just made this x3 so I can share with co-workers. The aroma is glorious!. Used your parsley-sage-rosemary-thyme combo. I'm letting everything dry nicely before I "jar" the gifts. You have become my new favorite website! I 'll be making your artichoke and olive bread for gifts to relatives for Easter.

April 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonnaJ

Thank you, Donna! I'm so glad you liked the Tuscan Herb Salt! I put it on everything now. Hope you like the artichoke bread! Thanks for the nice comment.

April 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I made this on thrusday and my kitchen smells divine. I've never had sage before so I'm looking forward to trying it. Thanks so much for sharing!

June 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKels

Thanks so much, Kels. Doesn't it smell wonderful? I can't being without this now and am always finding new ways to use it. So nice to hear from you!

June 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I made this Tuscan herb salt last week and shared a jar with my neighbor and one with my daughter. They both love it as much as I do. I'm making another batch tonight and won't be without it ever again! How did I live without this stuff? Thanks for the great addition to every dish.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCousin Katie

Well, you're so welcome, Cousin Katie! Nice to hear that you love this stuff as much we do, and it's pretty great how you keep everyone supplied with it! Have you put it on your fried egg yet?

July 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I just gave a seminar on using herbs, and your recipe was a big hit. I used it to make a dip for vegetables and to make deviled eggs while I spoke. Both were done in a flash, gobbled up, and I am sure that these folks will be visiting here soon, too. Thanks!

September 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCary

That's so great, Cary!! Thanks for that... so glad everyone liked the herb salt!

September 23, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

This sounds wonderful but another storage question—can you freeze and perhaps skip the drying process?

January 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBobbie

I really don't know why you couldn't do that, Bobbie. The drying process is pretty easy and the salt acts as a preservative, so perhaps you could go either way. If you decide to freeze it instead, we'd love to hear how that goes.

January 14, 2016 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Thank you for sharing and posting so many wonderful recipes! This has definitely become my favorite food site, as the recipes seem easy and clear. I am always looking for easy and delicious recipes to make. The recipes also contain ingredients that I already have in my kitchen. A very good job on all counts! I look forward to seeing more. Thanks so much!

February 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlissa Hart

You're so welcome, Alissa, and thank you for those kind words about the blog. Always good to hear that the recipes are finding their way into people's kitchens and that they're being enjoyed. Thanks so much for letting us know. Great to hear from you!

February 16, 2016 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

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