Go wild, it's wine salt

By Margaret Eby
Updated June 25, 2018
Credit: Courtesy Woodbridge/Jacobsen Salt

You know about wine. You know about salt. But do you know about wine salt? It's a thing, and not just when you pour a pile of Morton's on the Merlot you spilled on your carpet. It's basically a simple seasoning salt, made by reducing wine into a thick syrup, adding salt and seasonings, and letting the whole thing dry out in an oven or dehydrator. The result is crystals of salt that have taken on the color of the wine they've been seasoned with—a purple hue for red wine salt, and a yellow-ish tint for white wine salt.

Why would you want such a thing? Basically for any situation where you want to add the extra flavor of wine without the liquid. In the New York Times, Melissa Clark wrote about discovering the many uses for wine salt, initially using it as a rub for a pork loin and then incorporating it into other meat and vegetable dishes. "It was so good that I already have plans to try the rub on lamb chops with crushed coriander seeds mixed in, and on swordfish that I’ll roast with peppers," Clark wrote. "It’s also nice as a finishing salt, sprinkled on sliced tomatoes, radishes with butter or sliced cucumbers. And I’ll bet it does wonders for salting eggplant, zucchini and cabbage."

You can make your own, of course, but if you'd rather not go through the whole rigmarole, you can also pick some up premade. Jacobsen Salt Company recently teamed up with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi wines to produce their own line of wine salts, one flavored with Cabernet Sauvignon and one with Chardonnay. Chef Alex Guarnaschelli (my personal favorite Chopped judge) worked with Jacobsen and Woodbridge to develop some recipes for the salt, and she suggests using the Chardonnay salt in her crab macaroni and cheese. It would make an interesting addition to all kinds of things, particularly now that grilling season is upon us. Go wild, it's wine salt.