“Salted herbs are a central element in traditional Acadian cuisine; they are a basic ingredient in fricot, soups and most dishes which use meat and fish.” Marielle Cormier-Boudreau & Melvin Gallant, A Taste of Acadie (Fredericton, New Brunswick 1991) 119. Each cook, it seems, salts a different combination of ingredients in differing proportion to make this baseline flavoring for savory soups and stews, or perhaps more to the point historically, salted what was to hand. The Editor varies her herbes salées depending on what she has, but particularly favors this mixture of celery leaves with members of the onion family. The proportions are not important.
-about ½ cup chopped celery leaves
-1 cup minced red onion
-½ cup minced scallions
-½ cup minced shallots
- Mix everything but the salt together.
- Spoon about an inch of the mixture into a mason jar or other nonreactive container and cover the vegetables with salt.
- Repeat layers until the jar is full, seal it and let the herbes salées for at least four days; they will lose from a third to one half of their volume.
- Drain off the brine, reseal the jar and use your herbes salées as you need them.
- Herbes salées do not require refrigeration.
- Use what you have; red onion tends to spoil faster than other varieties, and we like the jaunty color, so it tends to find a way into our herbes salées. Any onion will do.
- Some cooks actually do use herbs with the onion and Old School cooks, like Guillermo Buglialli consider salt herbs, especially basil, superior to the dried variety. Use whatever herbs you like in sensible combination, but only use fresh ones.