I drove camparigirl crazy in NYC.
We went out for brunch with her pal Bettina and I had a sneaky cocktail. It seemed rude not to when there were at least 10 on the menu that I would like to have tried. The cocktail was okay – but the salt around the glass was fabulous. Punchy chile-lime umami-ness… I licked the rim. “Oh you can find it everywhere,” the waiter assured me.
Well – we tried everywhere. We tried some everywheres twice. I even emailed the maker…. nothing. Eventually I settled for a lime salt from Williams Sonoma. And lugged it home with me. Opened excitedly and rejected immediately: nasty chemical-lime tasting stuff.
But I am not easily discouraged – so I did a search in SA – and turns out there is a fellow in Plettenberg Bay who imports things from Mexico and “yes” he said: he had plenty. A friend was there for a wedding and four days later I had more Tajin than any amount of cocktails would ever use up. Unless I really put my mind to it. And I will
It is as good as I remember. I’ve sprinkled it on a couple of things since – Cucumber Maki, Avocado on Toast and even dipped a boiled egg in it. Fabulous, all. I am planning a Bloody Maria or two in McGregor this weekend – I have a chipotle infused vodka that’s whistling to me from the fridge. Not to mention salting a Michelada glass. Hmm – I see a Mexican themed evening coming on.
So here it is then – Tajin. A Mexican gem – costing all of $4.
Now, on the off-chance that you come up empty when you search for this salty little miracle in your metropolis (though you can order it online in the USA), I thought I would offer a DIY version that will work almost as well. We don’t want you missing out.
Chill Lime Salt
2 tablespoons flaky sea salt
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (add smoked paprika if you have only regular chili powder)
Zest of 2 limes
Toss 2 tablespoons flaky sea salt and 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder on a baking sheet. Finely zest 2 limes over the mix.
Bake in a 350°F oven, stirring occasionally, until lime zest is dry, about 5 minutes.
Store in a dry container.
Making flavoured salts is pretty easy. Long as you stick to the basic ratio which is one teaspoon of flavouring per 1/4 cup salt. Flavour is always to personal taste – so if you want a stronger flavour balance – simply add more. Salt combinations are endless: think dried mushrooms, lemon basil, orange rosemary, saffron fennel, vanilla cinnamon. Or crisp bacon, allowed to dry out completely in the oven and then fine-ground. I even tasted a red wine salt at the supermarket today – not bad. For all combos – there’s only one absolute: flavour ingredients should be dry, otherwise your salt will clump.
A note on the salt: coarser, flakier salts are a better bet – for their texture and they look classy. Try kosher salt (least expensive option), Maldon salt or fleur de sel. If you want to stick with regular table salt, use a higher proportion of flavourings.
The fella who promised me Tajin in New York swears by a sprinkle on watermelon. He eats it in the sea after he has been surfing (or so he says.). I will be extending that thought to honeymelon and mango: to snack when lounging in the pool over the holidays. And, I am sure Tajin will play well with a spatchcocked chicken, cooked over coals and finished with a glug of green olive oil, a drift of coriander and some fresh sliced avo. For dessert – a little tour of the internet revealed this recipe for Watermelon Tajin Paletas (natural fruit ice-lollies). Or perhaps dulce de leche with a tangy sprinkle. There’s a whole new world of possibilities out there, folks.
(This post was not sponsored by Tajin.)