Out of all the prosaic breakfast options the modern world has to offer, the dependable bowl of yogurt and granola is perhaps the most virtuous. On a weekday, a fried egg slipped on top of toast and showered with pepper and lashings of hot sauce feels a little bit like brunch. Cereal, eaten while standing in your kitchen is not even breakfast, just a means to an end. Granola spooned over a plop of Greek yogurt in a bowl tastes good and feels healthy, but taste-wise, it’s uninspiring. How do you improve improve yogurt so it’s something you’d actually want to eat?
Enter sea salt. The first time I tried this, it was by accident. Pre-caffeine and bleary-eyed, I added a pinch of salt to my yogurt and granola, thinking it was sugar. At first, the taste was a shock. Anyone schooled in the dubious art of April Fools’ Day pranks knows that the old salt-for-sugar switcheroo is the oldest trick in the book. But, this mistake I made turned out to be something quite delicious.
Salted yogurt features prominently in Middle Eastern cuisine, usually as a sauce for other dishes and served with chopped herbs and a healthy dose of olive oil. Because American palates are generally associate yogurt with cloying sweetness of your standard fruit-on-the-bottom cups, yogurt in its savory form makes little sense to anyone. That is, of course, until you try it.
The next morning, emboldened by my mistake and eager to replicate it, I added a tiny pinch of sea salt to my standard yogurt and muesli mix, along with a drizzle of maple syrup and a handful of pine nuts for fun. The salt took the edge off the sweetness and rounded out the flavors; the pine nuts added earthiness and a soft crunch. If I closed my eyes, I could’ve been sitting at a hand-hewn wooden table in a restaurant with Mason jar bud vases, paying $8 for a bowl of something that I could’ve made myself. But I wasn’t. I was in my kitchen, eating yogurt that I bought at the grocery store and feeling fancy as hell.