Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review + Giveaway: Woody's Gourmet Herb Sea Salts...Featuring Split Decision Garlic Bread

I’m really excited to share a truly fantastic gourmet food product with you that can make a real difference in the flavor of the foods you cook. Woody’s Gourmet recently sent me a three-pack of their delicious family-recipe herb-infused sea salts to try out in my kitchen and share with you here. I’ve been using these amazing salt blends on all sorts of things the past few weeks, and I have to admit that I’m hooked on their products...I plan to make them a staple in my kitchen from now on!

Woody’s Gourmet herb sea salts are unique in that they use a proprietary wet-infusion method to flavor sea salt using only fresh herbs and spices. Because the herbs used are fresh instead of dehydrated, the flavor of these salts is intense…and I mean that in a good way!! The salt combines with the essential oils in the herbs to make a unique texture and flavor. The essential oils permeate the salt with intense, delicious flavor. 

I spoke with Torbin, the company’s Director of Business Development, earlier this week. He told me that each of their salt blends are made with approximately 30% fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and lemongrass. I discovered pretty quickly that a little of these herb sea salt blends goes a long way, so each jar seems to last much longer than typical seasoned salts. The flavor combinations they offer include the following:
  • Rosemary & Sage Blend
  • Basil & Lemongrass Blend 
  • Sun-Dried Tomato & Rosemary Blend 
  • Smoked Bacon & Sage Blend
  • Chipotle, Lime & Tequila Blend
  • Caramelized Onion & Sherry Blend
  • Smokey Merlot Blend
  • Black Truffle & Thyme Blend 

I received jars of the Sun-Dried Tomato & Rosemary, their original-blend Rosemary & Sage, and the Chipotle, Lime & Tequila to sample. I’ve used all three flavors in my kitchen over the past few weeks to flavor grilled meats, pasta, and veggies. They give everything a really nice flavor. Torbin told me that the salts can be used as either a seasoning or a finishing salt. I really like that these salts are made with all natural ingredients.

Sun-Dried Tomato & Rosemary contains sea salt, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, garlic, pepper, and lemon zest. I  recently used this yummy salt blend to season some penne pasta. I cooked 8 ounces of penne in salted water and drained it. Then I added 2 tbs. olive oil, 1 tbs. of this salt blend, fresh mozzarella pearls, chopped basil, and halved grape tomatoes. A delicious dinner was ready in 20 minutes! 

Rosemary & Sage contains sea salt, sage, rosemary, garlic and pepper. I love to use this salt to season chicken breasts before giving them a quick sear in my grill pan. It gives the chicken a fantastic flavor and doesn’t require time-consuming marinating…which makes it perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. This is the original recipe in their collection, and it's my personal favorite. The combination of herbs with the garlic in the background is simply sublime!!!

Chipotle, Lime & Tequila contains sea salt, tequila, chipotle pepper, and lime. I used this salt to make a delicious shrimp scampi. I seasoned a pound of shrimp with 1 tbs. of this salt blend. Then I sautéed the shrimp in a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, and white wine. It was wonderful…and this salt was the only seasoning needed to give the shrimp a fantastic, spicy flavor. Torbin also suggested using this salt to rim a margarita glass…which I think is genius!!

I wanted to showcase these seasonings in a simple recipe to show you their versatility, so I came up with a garlic bread duo that features two of the salt-herb blends. This is a fairly simple recipe, so the quality of your ingredients is key to a great finished product. Pick up a nice, fresh baguette from a bakery...and make sure to splurge and use real butter! 

Split Decision Garlic Bread
a Weekend Gourmet Original

Step 1:  Turn the broiler of your oven on. Cut a baguette in half lengthwise. Spread each half generously with salted butter. Sprinkle 1 tbs. Woody's Gourmet Rosemary & Sage salt on one half and 1 tbs. Sun-Dried Tomato & Rosemary salt on the other half.

Step 2:  Add about 1 cup of shredded mozzarella on the half of the bread with the Rosemary & Sage salt. Add about 1/2 cup of grated parmesan reggiano and chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the half of the bread with the Sun-Dried Tomato & Rosemary salt. 

Step 3:  Broil the garlic bread for 4-5 minutes...keep an eye on the bread to make sure it doesn't get too brown, like mine almost did! You want it to be golden-brown and bubbly. Let the bread sit for a few minutes before cutting with a serrated bread knife.

I served one slice of each flavor on the side of our pasta dinner last night. We enjoyed both flavors equally, and the flavor profiles worked well together. One bread was ooey-gooey, and the other featured sun-dried tomatoes on top that echoed the flavoring of the salt perfectly!

Want to try these salt blends in your kitchen? You're in luck...Woody’s Gourmet has generously offered to give one of you a three-jar gift box! To enter, go to the Woody’s Gourmet website and check out all the herb-salt blends they offer. Then come back and leave me a comment telling me which three flavors of you would like to try…and how you plan to use them. Note: the only flavor that’s not eligible for the giveaway is the Black Truffle & Thyme. Please make sure to leave your e-mail address with your entry so I can contact you if you're the winner. For an extra entry, you can Like Woody's Gourmet on Facebook. Make sure to leave a separate comment for each entry. Entries will be accepted until Sunday at 11:59 p.m., and the winner will be announced next Monday.

Good luck...

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