Herbes Salées

Salted herbs are used throughout Québec to season stews, soups, and other sauces, especially in the winter when fresh herbs are not available. Recipes vary regionally; some contain turnip, some carrots, some celery leaves, but all have some sort of onion. This combination is typical of Charlevoix, the region along the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River northeast of the city of Québec. Traditionally the chopped herbs and grated vegetables are layered with coarse salt in a small crock. I simplify the process by chopping everything in a food processor, mixing in the salt, and storing the mixture in a clamp-top jar in the refrigerator. I have kept them for several months with no problem but I urge you to smell them before using and discard if they seem off. Usually the herbs are used to salt as well as to flavor food but some people rinse off the salt before using them. I translated and adapted this recipe from the Web site Recettes de Québec.

Yield: about 1½ cups

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 cup celery leaves
  • 3 scallions, white and firm green parts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh savory leave
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves and tender stems
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt, about ½ cup
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Method

Grate the carrot finely and set aside. Put the celery leaves and scallions in a food processor and chop, not too finely, you have about ½ cup total. Add the herbs and chop them too. Finally put the grated carrots into the food processor jar and pulse a few times to combine everything. Turn into a bowl and mix in the salt. Pack into a 2-cup (500 ml) clamp-top jar and tamp down gently. Pour in the water, close, and refrigerate. In about a week, pour off the accumulated liquid and your herbes salées are ready to use.

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