“Understand ingredients is the Key to seasoning food at home“– Paul Ebeling
Lots of recipes, especially the 1’s online say ‘a pinch of salt.’
The Big Q: What is a pinch of salt?
The Big A: lot of people will trust whatever is written online and not even think about the size of their hands.
What it comes down to is understanding your taste, and the recipe’s ingredients. Season something, then taste it.
If you have spices at home that you bought at the grocery store, I want to tell you to throw those all out.
Where you source your spices from is so important: 1) Because the spice trade is horrendous. And 2) That package of paprika you got, like McCormick paprika, from Whole Foods, or wherever you got it, has probably been sitting on another shelf, in a warehouse, for a 1 or 2 before you even got it. There is no flavor left at all. Those basil leaves were probably put in that jar 6 yrs ago!
The origins of the spice trade were horrendous. Like 90% of the reason the world was conquered was in search of spices, it has roots in blood.
A company like Burlap & Barrel works hand in hand with farmers who actually get to taste, and sell, and profit off of their products. It’s all fair trade spices are expensive so you buy small amounts. Working with fresher, better-sourced spices at home is very important.
Pepper, the King pf Spices, is the most misunderstood. As Americans, we have this salt and pepper culture.
People think, ‘Oh, that needs a little salt. A little pepper.’ All the restaurants have a salt shaker and a pepper shaker on the table, that is NutZ.
Salt enhances flavor. You have to have salt. You cannot have a dish without salt. Pepper, on the other hand, is a spice that complements flavors. You do not put pepper on everything. And if you do not use pepper correctly, it makes the dish bitter. Pepper needs to be ground fresh, no matter what!
You should have fish sauce. Good white wine vinegar. Good red wine vinegar. Good olive oil. Good neutral oil.
Olive oil is for dressing. Neutral oil, like a grapeseed oil, is for cooking. Have both at home.
You need fine salt for when you are heavy seasoning, like when you’re seasoning pasta water. And then something like Maldon salt, or fleur de sel for seasoning something after it’s done.
And then good peppercorns. Get a small amount and toast it. When you run out, go get more. Start by putting them in the oven until they get kind of aromatic, not burnt. When you pull them out, you should smell pepper. Everybody’s peppercorns are different, toast them, smell them. If they smell aromatic and toasty, and not burnt, then they are done. Then put those in your pepper mill.
Here is to spicing up your life, ethically and in small batches.