I came across a recipe for wine salt several months ago. I hung on to it because I knew that someday I would have to try it. What could possibly be more wonderful than wine and salt. Together in one recipe. Amazing awesomeness. Two of my most favorite things. Let me say and savor that again – wine and salt – together!!!How many nights have I foregone dinner and had a glass of wine and some chips?
Tonight was the night to experiment.
The recipe I had called for a pork loin to be cooked on the grill. Now I do have to say that I am a true grill believer but tonight- being 29 windy degrees in New York- I did a little improvising and used pork chops that I could saute indoors. I know. I have a brand new Weber grill sitting on the porch. On most nights I would tough it out but tonight was not one of those nights. I just couldn’t face it.
Here is the recipe adapted from John Eisenhart, executive chef at Pazzo in Portland Oregon. It was originally published in the New York Times by Melissa Clark.
2 cups fruity white wine, such as Riesling or Gewurtzraminer
3/4 cup coarse sea salt
8 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped ( about 2 tablespoons )
2 strips lemon zest, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
1. In a heavy bottomed skillet simmer the wine over medium heat until it is reduced by half, about 20-30 minutes; adjust heat to low and continue to cook down to 2 tablespoons. Here is where you get to enjoy that leftover wine in the bottle you just opened to make this glorious wine salt! Reducing takes time. I had a glass of the Chateau
Ste. Michelle Riesling that I used. Lots of peach and pear with nice acidity. Great sipper. Cheers!
Cool the wine reduction completely.
2. Heat oven to 200 degrees. In a food processor, combine salt, thyme leaves, lemon zest and wine reduction. I used a Hawaiian Coarse Red Sea Salt that my sister brought me as a gift on Thanksgiving. It made me think of luaus and pig roasts and warm Hawaiian nights. Forgive my little fantasy – again. it was 29 cold and blustery degrees in New York! Pulse mixture until it has the consistency of sand. Add sugar and blend for 5 seconds. Spread mixture evenly on a sheet pan and dry out in oven for 30 minutes. Now I did read that some ovens, not necessarily being equal in temperature, may possibly caramelize or melt the mixture instead of drying it. The alternative is to let it dry out naturally overnight on your countertop. That is what I did; since the wine reducing is somewhat time consuming I did not want to destroy my labor of love. You may use the mixture immediately if you choose and then dry out the remaining mixture and store it in airtight containers. This could be a great homemade gift for that wine loving home cook.
That is it. Really pretty easy.
I made some risotto.
I paired the meal with some Dasole Verdicchio Classico- crisp, dry and lemony- it seemed like a fitting complement to the lemony, herbal wine salt rub. Priced at under $10 this wine is a refreshing burst of citrus.
George’s comment- “Hey this is a good meal! It tastes good.” Wow, do I love that man!