Thursday, April 3, 2008

pepper, salt, & seafood

Spices, along with sauces, factor heavily into my style of cooking. I think this is hereditary. Barnebey meals are usually prepared with everybody standing around in the kitchen drinking something and seasoning each other's dishes behind their backs. Sometimes this makes for over-seasoned meals; usually it works out really well. Unless of course you leave Taylor alone for too long, then everything just ends up over-salted. He's really into salt right now, and we're all hoping he grows out of this phase soon.

A note: two of the most used spices in my cabinet are red chili flakes and mustard powder, both of which are easily replaced by my condiments. So they did not make the list.

3 Spices:
1. Whole black peppercorns (and pepper grinder)
Why: just because I'm stuck on a desert island doesn't mean I want to live like I'm back in medieval Europe. I may not have running water, but I damn sure will have pepper at all my meals.

2. Fleur de sel de Guérande
Why: I assume I'm not paying for these spices, so why not go for the best? Hand harvested from the salt marshes of Brittany it has a much higher mineral content than regular table salt, and thus much more flavor. Sort of like eating the ocean.
Why not: I guess it's not the best baking salt. But how much baking is there going to be?

[Update: In view of Jobonga's late night revelations on the superfluity of bringing salt to a island surrounded by salt water I would modify this choice. Sea salt out, coriander in. My harvested sea salt will have some iodine in it, and I'll be eating a lot of seaweed (wrapped around my raw fish) which is rife with iodine. I am not worried about goiters.]

3. Old Bay
Why: I don't use this (blend of) spice(s) all that often, but I have a secret love affair with it on seafood. Crabs doused in Old Bay? Yes. And can you imagine how much seafood is going to be eaten out on this island‽ I can't wait!

Honorable mention:
a. cumin - this would be hard to give up, but I think with my combination of spices and condiments I could whip up a substitute.
b. rosemary & sage - I'll have to grow these instead and count them as two of my herbs.
c. corriander

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