09 September 2009

Smoked Salt

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?


Anonymous said...

It sounds like it might be good on popcorn.

Benito said...


Great idea! After wearing braces of some type for a good 7 years, I completely lost interest in popcorn, but I can see how the flavors would work together.


Chatelaine said...

I'm definitely thinking of seafood...maybe shrimp or sea scallops. But also nuts, like almonds or pecans. Roast some in the oven with a little bit of butter and the salt, then toss a few of them in a salad or something.

fredric koeppel said...

interesting. I'm not a fan of "manipulated" salts, but I do like different kinds of natural salts from around the world, different sea salts, for example, and the pink Himalayan salt that's good on salmon.

Samantha Dugan said...

I think nuts are a great idea! Maybe sprinkled on sliced melon, or peaches?

Benito said...


All excellent suggestions, particularly the scallops. My mouth is watering as I type...


Like you, I have no interest in garlic salt or lemon salt or whatever, but like a smoked tea or smoked cheese this can add a little smoky flavor without breaking out the wood chips. And the abomination "liquid smoke" is banned from my kitchen.