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Shake Things up: Make Your Own Pinot Noir Sea Salt

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Making flavored sea salts is quick, easy and fun, not to mention a wonderful and adventurous addition to every chef's kitchen arsenal. Flavored salts can either be used as a rub for meat or seafood prior to cooking, or added as a finishing touch to fresh vegetables and, believe it or not, even desserts.

Fresh herbs, chile, citrus such as Meyer lemon, Sriracha, Jack Daniels, dried mushrooms and even coffee or espresso all add bold, distinctive flavor to salt. The possibilities really are endless, it just takes a little bit of creativity and figuring out what works best with the dish you're creating. For the purposes of this post, I will be walking you through the process of creating one of my personal favorites, Pinot Noir Sea Salt, which makes an excellent rub for meat such as a fire-grilled ribeye.

As a general rule of thumb, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of flavoring for every 1/4 cup of salt. Be careful not to over mix when blending, so that the salt crystals remain intact.

The steps below outline the reduction method. This is a technique using liquid and reducing it to a syrup, which makes the flavor and color of the salt more intense while at the same time preventing the salt from dissolving on contact.

1. Bring the wine to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer until the wine is a syrup thick enough to coat a spoon. This can take 15 to 20 minutes depending on the amount of liquid and the size of the pan you are using.

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2. Once reduced, immediately add salt and blend until the salt has completely absorbed the wine and changed color.

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3. Transfer to a baking sheet or a piece of parchment paper and allow to air dry for 12 to 24 hours or until completely dry.

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4. Once the salt is dry, store in an airtight container.

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5. Enjoy!