With over 30 spices and seasonings, the number of combinations you can make with just two of them numbers in the hundreds! 435 to be exact… But of all those combinations, one of them has really stolen our hearts. It’s the duo of Herbes de Provence and Persian Blue Salt that makes a serious splash when it comes to winter time cooking. One is bright and herbaceous with fragrant notes of dried rosemary and thyme. The other is bold and intense, with a touch of minerality that leaves you craving another bite. The two combined make for an exquisite culinary couple that’s hard to beat.
We used these two seasonings to create a fabulous (but very easy) wintery weeknight dish. The dish was Chicken Breast Roasted with Herbes de Provence and Blue Persian Salt with a Warm Salad of Pear and Radicchio. The chicken breast could easily have been swapped for chicken thigh, pork loin, or even duck if you’re feeling fancy – whatever you happen to have on hand will likely do the trick! The real magic happens when you apply the spices. Season you chosen protein liberally with Herbes de Provence and Blue Persian Salt. Heat a cast iron pan with a little olive oil, and add the meat. Brown thoroughly, and add sliced pear and radicchio – allow those to brown and caramelize as well. Once the protein is cooked to your liking, and the pears and radicchio are caramelized and tender – transfer them to a plate. Dress with olive oil, vinegar, a few more cracks of Blue Persian Salt, as well as candied walnuts and zante currants. The finished dish is warm and comforting, with sweet nuttiness from the walnuts and currants – a little zing of acidity from the vinegar, and a wonderful herbaceous aroma from the Herbes de Provence.
Let’s take a closer look at what makes these two seasonings so spectacular. The Herbes de Provence is a dried herbal mix that hails from the Provence region of southeast France. The Lafayette Spices mix includes five herbs, each with its own distinct flavor profile and importance to the blend: Savory, Marjoram, Rosemary, Thyme, and Oregano. Each herb is picked at its absolute peak of flavor and slowly air dried – this process achieves a flavor and color that is second to none. The blend itself is considered to be one of the youngest herb mixtures in France – after staples like Bouquet Garni and Fines Herbes. The term has only been around since the 70’s and was popularized by Julia Child! The mixture itself can include many different iterations of herbs – and can be either fresh or dried. The blend can include thyme, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, basil, chervil, tarragon, lovage, savory, sage, bay leaf, and fennel. Some mixtures outside of France include Lavender because it was an excellent selling point to tourists who couldn’t picture a Provincial herb blend without it!
Persian Blue Salt is one of the rarest and oldest salts on the planet – extracted from ancient salt ponds in the Semnan province. Specifically, the salt is found in the Ergourz mountain range – in Northern Iran. These salt ponds formed over 100 million years ago – and aren’t actually ponds anymore at all, but rather fossilized crystals, or gem. The ponds have all evaporated! It’s truly incredible to ponder the age of this salt – it was around with the dinosaurs! The shocking blue color comes from a mineral called Sylvinite – a potassium mineral that is only present in halite salts. The color occurs during the forming of the salt’s crystalline structure, as intense pressure is exerted on the salt deposits. The individual crystals fracture the light in an unusual way creating an optical illusion that makes the salt appear more or less shimmering blue. The finished salt is full of nutrients, like calcium, magnesium, and iron. Amazingly, only a few tons of this precious salt are extracted each year – making it an incredibly rare luxury!
By now we’re sure it’s clear to you just how special these two seasonings are on their own. But combine, they’re truly something magical. This winter, while you have that little extra bit of downtime, try some new and interesting spice combinations. We’re thrilled with this one, but there are 434 others out there to try!