Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Sea Salt

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Sea Salt

Ripe tomatoes are the quintessential taste of summer. At their best they need little more than 2 things to dress them: salt and fine olive oil. Consequently, ripe tomatoes are one of the best ways to showcase a fine salt. The tart, sweet, and umami flavors of tomatoes are brightened by high-quality salt. We wanted to see if we could transfer this application to a summer pasta dish, hearty enough to be a meal in itself, but without losing the flavor or freshness of the tomatoes. We started with the essentials: Tomatoes and salt. We used hot house tomatoes, but any tomatoes plum or larger work. Avoid cherry tomatoes or smaller; the flavorful gel in the tomatoes is essential for the sauce and the small tomatoes do not have enough of it. Next the salt: We used 2 kinds in this recipe. First we sprinkled the cut tomatoes with Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt. The red clay's bitter and earthy notes are something special on raw tomatoes. We finished the dish with Black Lava Hawaiian Coarse because of its big, crunchy grain and its visual appeal. To round out the flavors and textures of the dish and offset the tart of the tomatoes, we added a generous amount of chopped herbs. We used tarragon, parsley, and mint because of their cooling flavors but you could reasonably substitute many other green or oily herbs. Garlic was a go-to for brightness. For a little protein we added Feta, and for crunch and texture we added toasted sunflower kernels. These last two can be considered optional but we really enjoyed them. For the pasta, we used farfalle but a tubular pasta would work just as well at carrying the chunky sauce. Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs (Serves 4)
  • 1 pound short dry pasta
  • 1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes (three large) cores removed and rough cut into ½ inch pieces and lightly.
  • 1-2 medium garlic cloves: minced (a garlic press works just as well)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (see above)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds roasted or toasted (optional)
  • Chosen finishing salts
1. If you are toasting sunflower seeds, set a frying pan over medium heat. Add seeds to the dry pan and toast until golden brown, tossing occasionally. 2. Lay out chopped tomatoes and sprinkle with salt of your choosing (in this case Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt) 3. Combine tomatoes, garlic, herbs, olive oil, feta, and sunflower seeds. Set aside to let the flavors come together. 4. Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, add at least 1 tbsp. table salt. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring often until al-dente. Reserve ½ cup of the starchy cooking water and then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. 5. Add the tomato mixture to the pasta and toss to combine, adding the reserved cooking water to adjust the consistency of the sauce to taste. Just prior to serving, sprinkle finishing salt (in this case Black Lava Hawaiian Coarse) to taste. Serve.
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Bath Salt Soaks, bath spa salts

Bath Soak Recipe For Cold Relief

A homemade bath soak can provide the comfort needed when suffering with a cold or flu. A warm bath in general when you're feeling under the weather can feel relaxing, but the addition of the ingredients in this recipe can truly sooth your symptoms. Bath Soak for cold cures
  • 1/2 lb Dead Sea salt
  • 1/2 lb Epsom salt
  • 1/2 lb Baking Soda
  • 8-10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 8-10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 8-10 drops tea tree essential oil
The dead sea salt and epsom salt paired with the wonderful fragrance of the essential oils can help relieve muscle aches, sinus pressure, vertigo, and more. Be sure to try it next time you have a cold this winter!
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Bath Soak Recipe For Lyme Disease

Bath Soak Recipe For Lyme Disease

Lyme disease, a bacterial illness that can effect one's skin, joints, heart, and nervous system, can be very painful. One treatment that helps many who are suffering from this disease is an epsom salt bath. Bath Soak for Lyme disease
  • 1/2 lb Himalayan Crystal salt
  • 1 lb Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 8-10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 8-10 drops grapefruit essential oil

Order Yours Today!

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Portsmouth Salt Cellar Store Bath Salts, bath spa salts

Eczema and Psoriasis Relief

The Dead Sea is renowned for its skin nourishing and healing properties. Dead Sea salts are rich in minerals that help relieve symptoms of psoriasis, acne, itching, rashes, bug stings, eczema and other skin conditions. This recipe in particular can help provide soothing relief from the painful effects of eczema and psoriasis: Bath Soak For Eczema and Psoriasis
  • 1 lb Dead Sea salt
  • 1 lb Epsom Salt
  • 8-10 drops extra virgin olive oil or
  • 8-10 drops extra virgin coconut oil
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Chile Verde Soup Recipe

Chile Verde Soup Recipe

Chili Verde Salt Recipe Contest for the Salt Cellar By Chef Nathan ChristyThe best way to warm up after playing outside in the snow or shoveling the driveway on a cold winter day is to enjoy some homemade chili verde soup. If you’re a fan of chili verde, you’ll love this fresh tomato chili verde soup with chili salted croutons. This recipe brings an already delicious meal to the next level with our all natural, Gourmet Chili Verde Sea Salt. Check out our soup recipe below from the Chef Nathan Christy.

Fresh Tomato Chili Verde Soup with Chili Verde Salted Croutons

3 lb fresh roma tomatoes
1Tbs & 1tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
Splash of Olive oil
2 cups of veg stock
Chili Verde Salt
2 Cups 1/4” cubed homemade bread
1/2 zest from a lemon
Handful of baby arugula (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

  1. Preheat Oven to 370*
  2. Peel Tomatoes by scoring skin in quarters with knife, removing stem and placing into boiling water for approximately 60 seconds, until skins begin to separate from fruit. Immediately place into an ice bath to shock the tomatoes and stop the cooking process. Remove skins.
  3. Deseed the tomatoes by quartering and then carefully removing the seeds into chinois over your bowl, which allows you to save the juice and fruit.
  4. Sweat 1 onion, the white bulbs of 4 scallions, 1 Tbs garlic, 1/4 tsp of Chili Verde Salt and a pinch of pepper on low heat in a stock pot for about 8 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes to the stock pot.
  6. Increase the heat to medium.
  7. Add one cup of veg stock and a pinch of dry herbs- whatever you like will work great, I suggest oregano, parsley and basil. (I grow and my own herbs, so on hand I used a blend of lovage, sage, oregano, basil, and thyme.)
  8. Simmer your tomatoes until cooked thoroughly and breaking down. This takes about 12-15 minutes.
  9. While your soup is cooking, add your bread cubes to a hot sautee pan on high heat. with enough olive oil to cover the base of the pan. Add a pinch of pepper and Chili Verde Salt. Lightly sautee until your bread is covered in olive oil and beginning to crisp up.
  10. Put your sautee pan with your croutons right into the oven and toast for 8-10 minutes. They’ll become golden brown.
  11. Use a hand mixer or a blender to process soup until smooth. Adjust the flavors to your liking.
  12. Once your croutons are toasted and still hot in the sautee pan, add 1 tsp of fresh garlic and lemon zest. Lightly toss together. If you like, you can add a dash more of the Chili Verde Salt.
  13. Plate your soup in a bowl, finish with a dollop of sour cream, croutons, scallion greens, baby arugula and a sprinkle of Chili Verde Salt.
  14. ENJOY!!
  15. Note: This soup is vegan friendly if you opt out of the sour cream. This recipe was inspiration for me to create a menu featuring the Chili Verde Salt. I plan to use this menu below at my next dinner party. Appetizer: Fresh Tomato Chili Verde Soup with Chili Verde Salted Croutons Entree: Pan Sear Scallops crusted with Chili Verde Salt on a White Bean Puree with a Jicama, Scallion and Red Pepper Slaw with a Champagne Chili Verde Vinaigrette garnished with fresh Cilantro Dessert: Chocolate Chili Verde Creme Brûlée topped with Candied Cocoa Habenero Chili Pepper Strands

This soup is vegan friendly if you opt out of the sour cream. This recipe was the inspiration for me to create a menu featuring the Chili Verde Salt. I plan to use this menu below at my next dinner party.

Appetizer: Fresh Tomato Chili Verde Soup with Chili Verde Salted Croutons

Entree: Pan Sear Scallops crusted with Chili Verde Salt on a White Bean Puree with a Jicama, Scallion and Red Pepper Slaw with a Champagne Chili Verde Vinaigrette garnished with fresh Cilantro

Dessert: Chocolate Chili Verde Creme Brûlée topped with Candied Cocoa Habanero Chili Pepper Strands

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Applewood Smoked Salt Tips

Applewood Smoked Salt Tips

Turkey sandwiches, scrambled eggs, sausage, and pork. Versatile salt that can give a rich smokey flavor to anything it touches. We would love to hear your Applewood Smoked recipies, suggestions, and tips and share them here. Also, please send us photos of your creations!
Cooking Meats and Fish With Smoked Salt (found on written by Melissa Gagnon, eHow Contributor)
  • Look for a coarse, naturally smoked salt to use as a rub for your meat. Smoked salts can be smoked with different types of wood such as alder, mesquite, oak and apple. Pick a variety of smoked salt that you feel will complement your meat. For example, a strong oak smoked salt might go well with beef, and the applewood smoked salt might complement pork. Salmon is a meatier fish that works well with a smoked salt rub.
  • Rub the salt onto the surface of your meat or fish, coating it well. You can cook your meat immediately after rubbing it with the salt, or you can wrap the meat or fish and refrigerate it for a few hours to let the rub set, and give your meat or fish a stronger flavor.
  • Cook your meat or fish on the grill, or you may choose to roast it in the oven. Meat that is prepared with a rub should be cooked using a "dry" method of cooking such as grilling or roasting because a "wet" method such as sauteing or frying will cause the rub to come off.
  • Follow the suggested cooking times for the particular meat or fish you have chosen. If you are unsure how long to cook a particular fish or meat, consult a meat temperature chart. Use your cooking thermometer to check the temperature of the meat or fish.
Using Smoked Salts in Recipes
  • Look for a smoked salt that is finely ground if you plan to use it in place of table salt or sea salt in a recipe.
  • Substitute the amount of salt called for in your recipe with an equal amount of smoked salt.
  • Substitute smoked salt in recipes such as soups, cream or tomato sauces, pastas and even chocolate cakes or ice creams if you're daring.
Smoked Salt as a Garnish
  • Look for a coarse grained salt to use as a garnish, because garnishes are about appeal, and you want people to see the salt. Choose a smoked salt that has a rich, dark, smoky gray color as well.
  • Wet the rim of a glass in lime or lemon juice and dip the glass onto a plate filled with the smoked salt to rim a drink. A smoked salt rim goes well with tomato juice or a bloody Mary.
  • Lightly sprinkle the coarse salt over the top center of your dish to garnish a completed dish. Do not over-salt your dish; it will overpower the flavor.

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black laval salt

Black Lava Salt Recipes

What is Black Lava Salt?

Black lava salt is an all-natural and delicious sea salt harvested in the beautiful state of Hawaii. Activated charcoal combined with evaporated Pacific seawater provide a stunning black color that compliments the salt’s unique taste and texture. We have shared one of our favorite recipes below — it's a quick and easy dinner creation that is sure to please!

Grilled Halibut with Black Lava Salt & Watermelon Salsa

By Josie Ross

Serves 4 The juxtaposition of the white fish with the black salt and red salsa makes for a striking presentation, and the addition of the green from the cilantro perks up the plate just enough. Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cup diced (1/4-inch) watermelon
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, cut in small dice
  • 1 jalapeno chile, seeded, membranes removed, and minced
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 4 4- to 6-ounce halibut steaks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoon olive oil
  • Cyprus Black Sea Salt Flakes
To make salsa: In a medium bowl, combine watermelon, tomatoes, jalapeno, and garlic. In a separate bowl, combine rice vinegar, honey and black pepper. Whisk in the oil. Drizzle dressing over salsa, stir in cilantro. Oil the grill. Then, heat grill over medium-high heat. Pat the fish dry with paper towels, salt and pepper. Grill fish about four minutes, turn over and allow to cook until it is cooked through (about 4 more minutes). Place steaks on four plates, spoon salsa alongside, drizzle with olive oil and then finish with a sprinkling of Black Sea Salt. Recipe courtesy of

Recommendations: Spice blends, salads, meats, seafood, sauces/soups, drink rimmer. We would love to hear your black lava salt recipes, suggestions and tips — please share them here. Also, please send us photos of your creations!

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Hawaiian Red Salt Tips

Hawaiian Red Salt Tips

RECOMMENDATIONS Kalua Pig, Hawaiian Jerky and Poke. Consider use with prime rib, mexican foods, salsa, fish and rice. We would love to hear your Alaea Hawaiian recipes, suggestions, and tips and share them here. Also, please send us photos of your creations!

Oven Kalua Pig


  • 3 lb pork butt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons Hawaiian salt, or sea salt, or kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350-400 degrees F. Pierce pork butt all over with carving fork or score with a knife. Rub salt and liquid smoke into meat. Place pork fat side up in a roasting pan or deep casserole dish. Cover and roast in oven for 2 1/2-3 hours. Remove the pork from pan and shred with two forks. Makes six servings. Slow Cooker Kalua Pig


  • 3 lb pork butt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons Hawaiian salt, or sea salt, or kosher salt
Pierce pork butt all over with carving fork. Rub salt and liquid smoke into meat. Cook in slow cooker on low for 16-20 hours turning once. Remove meat, shred, and then add juices from slow cooker to shredded meat. Makes six servings.
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Make The Perfect Coffee by Adding Salt

Make The Perfect Coffee by Adding Salt

The Secret Ingredient for Perfect Coffee: SALT?

This article is by Tucker Cummings at Yahoo Voices

Coffee is known as "the best part of waking up", and the best after-dinner drink to pair with a decadent chocolate dessert. But for many, coffee has a dark side. In many cases, the culprit is the acid level of the coffee. Acidity is defined as the characteristic of coffee that gives it a tart or bright taste. Generally, dark roasted beans have less acidity. The amount of acidity in a coffee bean can also be influenced by growing conditions. For example, Low-acid coffees are a growing segment of the coffee market. But what's a discerning gourmet to do when they crave their favorite coffee, but literally can't stomach the acidity? The answer may surprise you: just add a single spoonful of salt. Used at a number of high end restaurants, "salted coffee" is perhaps best known from the menu at Salt in SoHo. You don't need to add a lot of salt to each cup, just a small spoonful or even less will do. Salted coffee has also enjoyed a brief period in vogue among discerning coffee addicts in Asia. Last year, a Thai coffee chain made headlines in the US media when it began serving a salted specialty coffee. The coffee, sold by chain "85°C", consists of a sweetened iced coffee, topped with a layer of creamy, salted foam.So the next time you're feeling adventurous, why not skip the sugar and try some salt in your coffee instead? It'll be easier on your stomach, but keep in mind that if you have hypertension, you probably want to avoid the added salt in your diet. So what kind of salt should you put in your coffee? Well, we recommend something that will complement your favorite morning beverage- for anyone looking for an extra-strong, dark flavor, try our Espresso Salt. If you're looking to lighten up your coffee's strong flavor with something a little more subtle, grab a jar of our Trapani Salt or Peruvian Pink Salt.
Better yet, you can get all three varieties, or mix and match your own with our Set of 3 Salt Set!
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Finishing Salts & Artisan Salt, finishing salts, what is finishing salt, salt cellar, Maine sea salt,

If You Crave Salt You May Be A 'Supertaster'!

When we opened the Salt Cellar in November of 2011 we knew we were in for some surprises. One thing we learned was that a large number of people, upon seeing our salt tasting room, would blurt with enthusiasm "I really love salt!" We hear these same exclamations nearly every day but have never understood why some people have such a powerful affinity for salt. Until now. In a study conducted by Penn State University and published in the journal Psychology & Behavior they discovered that about 1 in 4 people is a 'supertaster'. In short, a supertaster is genetically enabled with taste sensitivity that may be 10 to 100 times more acute than others. In other words some folks will get a very powerful reaction to tastes that others will not. They did note that supertasters tended not to like foods that were identified as bitter in taste like broccoli or some cheeses. Applying salt to bitter tasting food effectively masks the bitterness and makes the food more enjoyable. While some people react mildly to a slightly bitter taste a supertaster gets a powerful negative reaction. You can read more about supertasters at this Science Daily article. So if your child is a chronic picky-eater it just may be she or he is a super taster (and a salt lover)? Cheers! Don
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All Himalayan cooking salt blocks are not created equal

All Himalayan cooking salt blocks are not created equal

There is a lot of interest in using Himalayan salt blocks for cooking these days. But it important to know that most salt blocks, even the biggest and most expensive, are not worth the investment.

We order hundreds of Himalayan salt blocks and only about 10% are candidates for cooking. That's because most blocks have substantial cracks or mineral deposits that will cause the block to shatter when subjected to high heat. Usually the poor quality block will self-destruct during its initial burn in although it may last a couple of outings. At the Salt Cellar we've decided that each tile we sell for cooking needs to be broken-in, or 'cured', by us. We do this for for a number of reasons.

First, the procedure involves a couple of hours to do it right. We need to heat the tiles gradually up to a temperature of 500 degrees and then let it cool down. This this takes several hours and it makes sense of us to do a whole batch of them at once.

Second, sometimes even good-looking blocks are really flawed and they break apart during burn-in. Last, it is possible that a block contains a small amount of water. If this is the case the block may literally explode (as one did in my oven last week!). Interesting. So as a safety issue we'll take some of the 'excitement' out of the process for you.

Once the block has been successfully cured it can be heated to operating temperature much more quickly. Still, it is a good idea to start on a low temperature to get the tile warmed up. Then you can turn up the throttle. Wait until the block is fully heated before tossing on the fish or meat.



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Portsmouth Store Himalayan Salt

Welcome to Cellartalk!

Salt is a pretty basic thing in our lives that most of us don't think about too much.

We take it for granted that all salt is pretty much the same and plays a limited role in helping improve the taste of food or keeping ice off the pavement. So when Judit and I launched the Salt Cellar in Portsmouth last November (2011) we had a big job to do: educate our visitors about the fantastic possibilities of salt in all of its forms. To explore the many ways salt is used in other cultures and find new, fun uses for this fascinating mineral.

The purpose of this blog is to answer the many questions that people ask us in the Salt Cellar every day. We'll talk about Himalayan cooking blocks, international artisan finishing salts, flavor infused sea salts, recipes, pairings and health. We'll discuss the many uses of salt for the care of our skin and our airways. We'll also talk about the great places in the world that salt is celebrated, its storied history and fun facts.

We encourage you to join the discussion, ask your questions, question our answers and add your comments and corrections.

-Don & Judit

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