Fruits of the Sea
The first of the season Alaskan halibut has arrived, and we are thrilled! Considered the world’s premium whitefish, first of the season halibut are the best quality because the fat content of the fish is at its absolute peak. To celebrate the arrival of this delicacy from the icy north, we created an escabeche using our Pacific Seafood. This simple preparation is a luscious showcase of some of spring’s first fresh flavors.
By now most bagel lovers in Seattle have discovered Eltana and as an ex-pat from the East Coast, I can tell you it is about time. The perfect crust on their bagels comes from being boiled in honey water and then baked in a wood burning oven; yielding a hint of sweetness with a very light smokiness that is out of this world. Of course, they use our spices in many of their dips, spreads & salads too which always makes for a superior schmear.
With a recent spice delivery, I found Daniel, one of the founders of Eltana, working on something new that was too good not to share. He was making tuna salad using our Kharcho blend. This rare mixture of spices is typically associated with the hearty stews of the former Soviet state Georgia, and its unusual flavor profile often leaves folks wondering what to do with it. When I tasted this Kharcho Tuna Salad, I was sold. This is no ordinary tuna salad. Daniel starts with high grade albacore tuna which is cooked in house before getting mixed with all kinds of delicious goodies, including our Kharcho. I haven’t been able to pry the secret recipe from him yet, but if he does share it, we will pass it along. Until then, we’ll see you at Eltana!
The first time I ever had a crab cake, I was thirteen and accompanying my dad on a business trip to San Francisco. We dined in the fanciest restaurant I’d ever been to, and I ordered the crab cake appetizer. It was tender, moist, perfectly seasoned, and it blew me away. I’ve attempted many times since to recreate it, with varying degrees of success. These beauties, however, elegantly spiced with our Classic Crab seasoning and a generous handful of tarragon, put that first memorable cake to shame! Do be sure to use Panko, the Japanese bread crumbs, for this recipe to get that lighter-than-air crust.
Have you ever eaten something so good that it induces a trance? Well, check out our Voodoo Shrimp and Grits. This classic dish features our brand new spice blend, Voodoo, a robust seasoning which includes onion, garlic, thyme and allspice on a base of peppercorns and sea salts. We are excited to share Voodoo Shrimp and Grits just in time for Mardis Gras. French for Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season. Definitely rich, this recipe could be the inspiration for your own Mardi Gras ritual.
This hearty stew hits it on all notes — the high acid of the tomatoes and wine play against the sweetness of the deeply caramelized onion and fennel, the brine-y olives render the seafood right at home, and the Piment d’ Espelette… oh, the Espelette! The perfect balance of heat and complexity that clarifies this bounty of flavor, and unites it all in delicious harmony. If my fish-monger has them, I’ll often throw in a few oily little fish, like fresh anchovies or sardines, too… Just sear them whole, skins and all, in a bit of olive oil and add to the serving dishes.
A word of advice from a novice gardener: Carrots are much bigger than carrot seeds. Somehow, fifty-odd square feet of garden space doesn’t seem like that much when it’s being planted, but it can produce a surprising haul, most especially in the carrot department. Praise be that carrots are delicious, so their being excessively plentiful is a problem I’m thankful to have! This soup is hearty and delicious, made velvety by the soft puree of carrots, and from the toasted rice in the Poudre de Colombo curry. We’ve dressed it up a little with the prawns, but this soup can easily be made vegan by omitting them, and using red miso paste in favor of the Worcestershire powder. If you’re short on time, or you perhaps planned your garden space better than I did, and therefore the creative utilization of carrots is not a pressing issue for you, a can of pumpkin puree is an excellent substitution.
We’re excited to announce we have a new blend! We’ve reformulated our Pacific Seafood blend, using bright notes of citrus and lemongrass; this Pacific Seafood blend incorporates flavors from the Pacific Northwest all the way to Thailand. Using a delicious process of trial-and-error, while taking into account staff and customer feedback, our fearless leader and accomplished blend artist Amanda created this blend for a wide variety of seafood. We all agree that using it as a rub for seared scallops is where it really shines. The versatility of the Pacific Seafood blend lets these scallops be the shinning star of a huge number of varying meals. Start with the recipe below and see where your culinary creativity takes you!
The best part of being a spice merchant is the taste-testing process… We’re pretty serious about only putting our name on things we love, so every now and again we’ll make a really over-the-top staff meal, mostly test out new blends and spices, but also not-so-secretly because we’re all gluttons. Our one spice merchant with a seafood allergy is off today, so of course, it was the day for homemade SUSHI with Real Wasabi®!
Real Wasabi® is a new offering for us. Wasabi is notoriously difficult to cultivate. This special product is grown in the traditional Japanese “Sawa” method, using constantly circulating spring water. This manner makes the rhizomes take longer until they’re mature enough to harvest- up to two or three years- but produces the cleanest, purest taste. When fresh, wasabi can be grated with ceramic or shark-skin graters to produce a paste, or sold dried as we carry it, and rehydrated in equal parts with water.
The flavor is grassy and vegetal; milder in heat than “faux” wasabi (the mix of horseradish, mustard, and food coloring that you know so well), and without the tear-inducing burn, either. The dried form is closer to army green than the neon-hued stuff you’re used to, and creamier in texture as well. Letting the paste stand covered for at least ten minutes allows the flavors to develop, so be sure to give it some time.
We enjoyed it as a condiment on these spicy tuna and scallop rolls, veggie rolls, black cod hand rolls, seared ahi and ahi sushi, Japanese barbequed black cod, flash-salt-cured and seared diver scallops, and yes, even some on this mango we salt cured on a Himalayan Salt Plate! We mixed a little in with some Japanese mayonnaise, too, and used it as a dipping sauce for those sugar peas. We might have to roll home from the shop today…
I don’t know about you, but this sunshine activates my wanderlust something fierce! Long days, hot sun… I crave a remote beach and what I like to call “barefoot cuisine.” Near the top of my travel list is a combination yoga and surfing retreat on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula… As a mum, a student, and a spice merchant, my travel budget is limited, so I have to rely on the transportive quality of food, for the time being. These tacos do just the trick! Far from the oily, breaded fish tacos you’ve had before, these are perfect summer fare, getting their flavor from beautiful swordfish, the smoke of the grill, and the tangy, complex flavor of World Spices’ Yucatan Rojo BBQ Rub. The creamy and crunchy slaw and the crisp, spicy pickled vegetables are refreshing in their acidity, and a perfect complement to the dense corn tortillas. Garnish with plenty of fresh cilantro, and if you’ve got them, slices of buttery avocado. With my eyes closed and taco in hand, the Yucatan Peninsula comes to me!
Fresh pineapple tastes of a wild summer, its tropical sweetness tempered by raucous acidity. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find a ripe one and some folks can be overwhelmed by the tartness. My favorite way to tame pineapple is to cook it slowly until the pale yellow becomes a rich gold and the sugars take center stage, as in this grilled salsa. Make sure to place your pineapple slices away from the hottest parts of the grill; caramelized pineapple requires time (20-30 minutes) and indirect heat. Our Caribbean Spice, with the richness of allspice berries, is the perfect blend for this salsa. A bit of extra cumin adds an intense savory note that’s perfect for grilling. While I broke everything down in a food processor for the smoother texture and ease of preparation, fans of chunky salsa can chop everything together by hand. The smoky flavor from the grill counterpoints the sweetness of the pineapple and tomato perfectly, leaving you with a well balanced and delicious side for tortilla or plantain chips, chicken, and fish.