Pantry staple: Spice Rub

A go-to meal in our home is what we call “spicy fish.” We’ll take a fillet of a mild fish (salmon, tilapia, mahi mahi), squeeze lemon juice over the top of it, rub in some Spice Rub (see below), wrap it up in a square of aluminum foil, and bake the fillets in the oven at 325ºF until their internal temperature reaches 145ºF (usually 20 to 35 minutes, based on the thickness and type of fish).

We serve the fillets alongside whatever vegetable is in season, and have a very simple and nutritious meal.

To make the meal even easier, we keep the Spice Rub on hand at all times in the house. It’s as much of a staple as salt and pepper for our family. A few times a year we mix up a batch, store it in a shaker, and use it regularly on meats and vegetables.

Our spices typically come from Penzeys, since their store is near where we live. But, we’ve started to find good flavors from Morton and Bassett spices, which are sold in many national chain grocery stores. I like making our own spice mix instead of buying one that is already mixed because we get to tweak the recipe to our specific preferences. Also, since we have most of the spices already in the cupboard, it’s less expensive to make than it is to buy.

Spice Rub

Based on Emeril’s “Rustic Rub” recipe, but with my family’s twist using Penzeys spices

  • 8 Tbl smoked Spanish paprika
  • 3-1/2 to 4 Tbl cayenne red pepper powder
  • 4 Tbl freshly ground Tellicherry Indian black pepper
  • 7 Tbl garlic powder
  • 3 Tbl California toasted onion powder
  • 7 Tbl Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbl dried (broken leaf) Mexican oregano
  • 3 Tbl dried French thyme

Mix ingredients well and store in a sealable shaker.

I recommend you play with the recipe to find exactly the combination that works best for you. Ours is hotter than Emeril’s version, but it isn’t so hot as to make anyone cry.

2 comments posted

  1. Posted by Zarah - 04/07/2011

    Have you ever tried purchasing spices from the bulk bins at natural/health-food stores? The prices are soooo much cheaper than buying spices at the grocery store.

  2. Posted by Sheryl - 04/07/2011

    That sounds really good! And I’ve been reading so much about smoked paprika that I’ve just *got* to try some.

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