Its been a while since I got this excited about a new ingredient. I mean the name alone is enough to inspire. Maybe because my lineage is linked to Viking, or the fact that I’m in love with the TV series and Ragnar Lothbrok, or simply because I’m obsessed with salt, but this Viking salt is something quite extraordinary. You will want to use it in recipes where the essence wont lost against other strong flavours. It needs to shine. Its a great finishing salt and a perfect addition to sprinkle over fairly neutral flavours. I thought it would be perfect for these char roasted spring onion tartines.
They are actually more of an open croque monsieur tartine because I made a béchamel as the base, giving them a lovely creamy texture. The Viking salt works perfectly here as only a pinch of nutmeg, Dijon mustard and white pepper season the sauce. The smokey taste of the Viking salt permeates and then I added another sprinkle at the end.
I chose to use my latest cheese obsession in this recipe. A 20 month aged Gouda which is exclusively available from Woolworths. It’s utterly delicious. As much as I love a sharp aged Cheddar – and that would certainly work very well here, the sharpness can be slightly abrasive. This aged Gouda is softer and smoother but with a far more developed flavour than a bland and younger counterpart. I literally can’t resist it at the moment.
What is Viking salt?
So Viking salt is, well, exactly that, salt that has been made according to an ancient Viking method. It involves dehydrating seawater over wood smoke which permeates the crystals. Juniper, cherry, elm, cheech and oak are used to create the flavoursome fire. Other ingredients have been added to bolster the flavour and in this particular brand of Norwegian Viking salt called Terre Exotique, onion, pepper and turmeric have been added. The product is made in Norway, packed in France and sold in South Africa via the fabulous The Really Interesting Food Company. They sell the most wonderful range of speciality ingredients including Freekeh which is an ancient grain that I turned into these one-ingredient crackers. As much as woodsmoke is a big component of this salt, it is unlike any other smoked salt I’ve tasted.
I tried it on a poached egg on toast yesterday morning and it was sublime, and I’m definitely wanting to do some potato dishes with it too. Imagine buttery mashed potatoes, creamy corn soufflés, steamed vegetables, any other egg dishes. I’d love to spike a Bloody Mary with it too. The possibilities are actually huge and I’m so thrilled that I was given a jar to play around with.
I used a lovely multigrain loaf that makes long elongated slices which were delicious with this recipe.
Recipe – makes enough for 4 tartines (depending on the size of bread)
- 2 Tbs butter
- 3 Tbs flour
- 1/2 cup milk + 1 Tbsp
- 1/2 tsp Dijon
- pinch of nutmeg
- freshly ground white pepper
- 1/2 tsp Viking salt
- 4 slices of bread – preferably elongated in shape
- 12 – 16 spring onion with both ends trimmed
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 40 gms mature cheese such as Cheddar, Comte, Gruyère or an aged Gouda
Heat the oven to 180C / 350F and place the trimmed and cleaned spring onions in an oven dish. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to ensure the oil has covered the surface area of the spring onions. Roast for 12 – 15 minutes until the green ends start to char slightly and the rest of the onion starts going golden.
Make the bechamel by melting the butter in a small pot then adding the flour to form a roux. Stirring with a whisk slowly add the milk until you have a thick paste. Add the seasonings and cook until its thickened to its max.
Heat your grill (broiler) and toast one side of the bread until golden. Lightly toast the second side but not as much as the first. Spread a generous layer of bechamel over this side and then top with the roasted spring onions
I quite like tartines and these are a couple of my faves:
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