Spice blends can be a boon to last-minute cooking, transforming a mundane chicken breast or simple vinaigrette. We have plenty of spice blends in our pantry, but our go-to for summer cooking comes to us from Tasting Table’s executive chef. The blend is smoky, earthy, floral and fresh—exactly right for grilled pork chops or beer-can chicken. The key to its vibrancy: toasting the spices in a dry skillet to release their essential oils. Adjust the quantities and spices to suit your summertime longings; for instance, cayenne or ground chipotle chiles for heat or ground cinnamon or ground cloves for sweet. This stuff goes fast, so don’t be afraid to double--or triple--the recipe.
All-Purpose Summer Spice Rub
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 1/3 cup
Cook Time: 5 minutes
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon anise seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1. In a medium skillet set over medium-low heat, add the mustard seeds, anise seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, celery seeds and black pepper. Cook, shaking the pan often, until the spices begin to smoke and become golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
2. Turn the spices out onto a large plate to cool, then transfer to a spice grinder or coffee mill and pulverize until fine. Pour into a medium bowl and whisk in the smoked paprika and salt. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark and dry spot for up to six months. Shake to combine before using.