Seasoned salt (Recipe: baked potato wedges)
Little-known fact: My mother did not invent seasoned salt.
I always wondered about that. Seasoned salt — specifically Lawry's brand — was the main spice in her kitchen and she put it on everything: tuna steaks, beef steaks, lamb chops, burgers, chicken breasts. Seasoned salt livened up almost every meal, and I loved it. I still do.
In 1938, Lawrence L. Frank and Walter Van de Kamp co-founded the original Lawry's The Prime Rib restaurant in Beverly Hills, and created Lawry's seasoned salt to flavor their famous prime ribs of beef. For years I had Lawry's on my spice rack, until I discovered Penzeys Spices.
Penzeys' seasoned salt is hand-mixed from salt, sugar, paprika, onion, turmeric, garlic, and spice extractives (including oleoresin of paprika, black pepper, celery, rosemary and thyme). Oleoresin sounds chemical, but it's not; it's simply an oily extract. Lawry's Seasoned Salt has a few more ingredients — no MSG, but it does have cornstarch, an anti-caking phosphate, and soy lecithin.
Penzeys now has a seasoned sea salt called 4/S (special seasoned sea salt), made with the same ingredients as the regular, but substituting coarse sea salt and extra bold black pepper for the standard S&P. I love the fresh flavor and the fact that there's more going on than just salt; you actually can taste the pepper, onion and other spices.
The words "seasoned salt" conjure up two taste memories for me: my grandmother's beef brisket (which gets rubbed in seasoned salt before browning and braising), and the lamb chops my dad used to cook on the grill. Reason enough to give this spice blend a place of honor in my kitchen.
BAKED POTATO WEDGES WITH SEASONED SALT
Here's a side dish that's good for picnics, or at any time of year. From Bon Appetit, June 2000. Serves 8.
8 large russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp seasoned salt
Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut each potato lengthwise into 8 wedges; toss in bowl with butter, oil and seasoned salt. Arrange in single layer on 2 baking sheets. Bake until tender and golden, turning potatoes and rotating sheets halfway through baking, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.