5 Ways to Spice Up Your Spice Rack

by Chef Lesli Sommerdorf for Harmons


In the quest for an ever-broadening palate, foodies are always on the lookout for the next new ingredient. Harmons takes pride in keeping up with the latest food trends and always improving our product knowledge. We hope to pique our customers’ curiosity with introducing new—and sometimes ancient-is-new-again—food items. Here are just a few of our current favorite spices and blends to add to your aromatic arsenal in the kitchen.

Shichimi Togarashi
(Japanese Seven Spice)
A seven-ingredient chile blend, sichimi togarashi often contains coarsely ground red chile pepper, ground Japanese pepper (sansho), roasted orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, hemp seeds, ground ginger and seaweed (nori).

A mixture of sweet and spicy, this blend goes great with grilled meats, seafood and stir-fries.

Za’atar
A Middle Eastern spice blend made of sesame seeds, sumac, thyme, marjoram and savory. These spices work well with grilled dishes such as steak or lamb chops, atop pita bread slathered with extra-virgin olive oil or in a green salad with garbanzo beans and pepitas.

Sumac
This Middle Eastern ground spice begins as red berries that grow on a sumac bush. The ripe berries are then dried and ground into a coarse powder. The flavor is lemon-like and slightly astringent.

It is used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, as an ingredient in marinades, dry rubs or in dressings. It adds a bright note to dishes such as hummus, tabbouleh and kofte (lamb or beef meatballs).

Gochugaru
(Korean-Style Red Pepper)
A Korean sun-dried red chile pepper that is slightly sweet and smoky, with varying degrees of spiciness.  A main ingredient in the making of the fermented cabbage dish, kimchi, the coarsely flaked chile can be also used in dipping sauces, marinades and in stews and dressings.

Piri Piri
A dried bird’s eye African chile, it is cultivated in Zambia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Malawi. Its flavor is faintly citrusy and herbal yet spicy, similar to the heat level of a habanero chile.

It is used in the traditional dish piri-piri chicken, or used as a rub on beef, pork or fish. Try it in stir-fries and stews as well.

Togarashi-Spiced Fries
2 ½  lb russet potatoes, peeled and rinsed
Canola oil, for frying
1 Tbsp shichimi togarashi
Kosher salt
2 Tbsp minced green onions, green part only

Aioli
1 large egg yolk
1 clove garlic, minced
¼  cup grapeseed oil
¼  cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Fresh lemon zest and juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Using a mandolin, cut the potatoes into thin sticks and place in a large bowl. Cover with cold water and let soak, about 1 hr. Strain the potatoes in a colander and place potatoes on paper towel-lined baking sheets to dry.

Add 4” of oil to a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat and heat oil to 325º In batches, fry the potatoes until lightly golden, 4-5 min.

Transfer the fried potatoes to dry paper towel-lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining potatoes.

Turn heat up to high until oil reaches 375º In batches, fry the potatoes until desired doneness. Transfer the fried potatoes to dry paper towel-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle liberally with shichimi togarashi, salt and green onions.

Meanwhile, make the aioli. In a large bowl, add the egg yolk and garlic and whisk to combine. In a steady, slow stream, add the grapeseed oil and olive oil, whisking constantly to combine. Add the cayenne, pinch of zest and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

 

Content Provided by Harmons.

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