Last week, there was a discussion about a video that showed how to make red wine salt. Unfortunately, there were a few discrepancies and it was confusing to follow the recipe. I had made it before, but could not recall the exact details and measurements. So I went into my kitchen to prepare another batch. The things I do for you all!
Wine salt requires just a few minutes of active work. Reducing the wine is an important step in making this salt. I choose to use the crock pot because I can just pour in the bottle and pretty much forget it. However, if you are in a rush to see the results of your labors, there is also a stove top cooking option. This step in the process is vitally important as it intensifies the wine’s flavor while cutting the booziness and giving a smooth taste with no bitterness. Additionally, you may either air-dry or dehydrate your salt.
Salt is the greatest seasoning. It gathers all the flavors that are already popping and intensifies them, bringing your flavors a couple notches higher—the sweets become sweeter, the tastes deeper. This dynamic combination brings out rich complexity in everything it touches. Your end product will be a smooth, rich, flavorful salt you can enjoy on just about anything.
For this recipe I have chosen to use kosher salt. This is a coarser grind of salt with large, irregular crystals. It has no additives. Kosher dietary laws strictly require as much blood as possible be removed from meat before cooking and this coarse grind performs the job admirably by soaking it up. Similarly, the wine is also easily assimilated. Kosher salt is a favorite with not only Jewish cooks, but also professional and gourmet cooks who prefer its texture and brighter flavor. Coarse canning/pickling salt can be substituted.
Wine Salt is a lovely accent for snacks like heirloom tomatoes, cucumber slices, and cheeses. Use it as a finishing touch on rich meats, seafood, and robustly flavored vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts. Rim a glass with this salt for a wonderful top note to a delicious adult beverage. Try salting eggplant, zucchini and cabbage as dry brine before dredging and frying. There is a meat rub blend included here that I find very tasty.
This recipe will make enough to share, packaged in a pretty jar, with two of your BFF foodie friends. It is an excellent, lovely, creative gift they will talk about for years. When you consider that the going rate for a spice jar of this deliciousness is about $20.00, you are saving a bundle making it yourself!
Red Wine Finishing Salt
Makes 3/4 cup
1 bottle (750ml) Full-bodied, robust red wine (3 cups)*
3/4 cup coarse kosher salt, canning/pickling salt, or fleur de sel
*Full Bodied, Robust Red Wines you can use for this include: Cabernet, a young Bordeaux, most Australian Shiraz, a Cabernet Shiraz, California Rhone-types, Charbono, Barolo and Barabaresco, Red Zinfandel, or Merlot.
- Empty bottle of wine into a crock pot and turn it on the HIGH setting. Put on the lid and allow to heat for 1/2 hour, bring it up to temperature.
- Turn the lid of the crock pot so that it is askew, allowing the wine to condense down. Cook for 6-8 hours, until you have about 1/3 cup of wine reduction. Your result should be thick but not syrupy.
- Pour wine reduction into a glass container and allow to cool.
- Mix salt into cooled wine reduction 1/4 cup at a time using a stainless steel teaspoon to incorporate all the salt into the reduction. Your finished product should have a look like brown sugar. If the salt doesn’t absorb all the wine reduction, keep adding salt until all the liquid is absorbed, up to 1-1/2 cups salt.
- Using your rubber gloved hands (trust me on this), knead the resulting mix, breaking up any clumps.
- Spread out mixture on a roll-up tray (solid tray). Dehydrate at 135°F/57°C for 18-24 hours. Or you can spread it out on a plate, cover lightly, and allow to air dry for a few days.
- When salt is completely dry, a few pulses in a grinder will give you the smooth, powdered finish you desire. To achieve a coarser salt, use a mortar and pestle to break up the dried clumps.
- To insure your salt did not pick up moisture from grinding, empty it back onto your fruit roll-up tray and dry for another hour.
- Add it to a salt shaker, salt grinder, or spice bottle and use as a finishing or table salt. Or store in an airtight container away from heat, moisture, and light. Adding a few grains of uncooked rice will keep it free-flowing.
Stove top Option for Wine Reduction
In a small saucepan, bring the wine to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook until thick but not syrupy, and about 1/3 cup of liquid remains. Allow to cool to room temperature and proceed with Step #4 above.
White Wine Finishing Salt
You may also decide you want a finishing salt that does not color your food purple. If so, choose an Oaky, Medium to Full-Bodied White Wine such as Chardonnay, white Bordeaux and California Sauvignon Blanc blends, Alsace Vendage Tardive and German “trocken” and “halb-trocken” Spatlesen and Auslesen.
Wine Salt Dry Rub
Wine Salt is an excellent starter for a great dry rub. Add thyme, lemon zest, and sugar to the wine salt for a fantastic dry rub that will leave a fine crust on your grilled or roasted meats. The sugar helps the meat caramelize, while the wine salt, lemon, and thyme permeate the flesh giving a bold, intense flavor to the meat.
1/4 cup wine salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 sprigs thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated or 1/2 teaspoon lemon powder
- Combine wine salt, sugar, thyme, and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until the blend is homogenized and has the consistency of a wet table salt.
- Spread the mixture on a sheet pan to dry overnight at room temperature or dehydrate at 105°F/40°C for 6-10 hours or until crispy dry.
- Grind into the coarseness you desire and store in a cool, dry, area away from light.
This amount will flavor 2-3 pounds of meat for grilling or roasting. If you are flavoring meats for dehydration, use a light hand and test your mix to see if your taste buds require more. Flavors will concentrate in the act of dehydration, so “less is more” in seasoning foods you are preparing for your dehydrator.
Printable Recipes can be found here, Wine Finishing Salts.
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