When I was a child, I knew about table salt and rock salt, the latter being useful for making ice cream and clearing roads in the winter. Nowadays I tend to have four or five different salts in the house at any given time. This is the story of one of the more unusual variations on sodium chloride.
In 2007 I got a birthday present from my boss that included a curious little jar of "Oak Smoked Chardonnay Sea Salt". It's seasoned with the smoke from burning oak barrels that were used to age Chardonnay. Thus you get all the butter, caramel, and vanilla concentrated into this salt, giving it a beige color. I loved smelling it, loved cracking it open when guests came over, but how to use it? I really struggled to find a use for it.
Recently I was baking a sweet potato, hoping to add another element beyond the usual butter/brown sugar/kosher salt. And then it struck me... This could be the perfect application for the smoked salt, and glory be, it was. The salt does not have a heavy smoke flavor; it's fairly muted. But it adds a nice touch, and the other dessert-like flavors (vanilla, caramel) play well with the other ingredients.
I'm trying to think up other uses for it... Salmon sashimi is coming to mind, I'm also thinking it might be fun to sprinkle over a steamed mahi-mahi filet. Commenters, I leave it up to you: what other uses can you think of for this fun, aromatic salt?