Our favorite herb and spice mixes
The French herb mixes
It is well known, that the French have a great cooking style, and one of their “secrets“ is their use of fresh herbs, to bring great flavor in to the dishes. There are three famous French herb mixes, fines herbes, bouquet garni, herbes de Provence.
As the name may suggest, fines herbes, is the most fine and delicate of them since its flavor is mild and subtle and is often used egg dishes, on poultry and in salads.
Bouquet garni is the most traditional of the three, often used in soups, stews and braises, because the herbs used in this one creates a great base flavor to your dish.
Herbes de provence
Lastly, herbes de Provence, maybe the most well known of them and definitely the most powerful. This one is similar to the Italian herb mix, which actually makes sense considering the geographical proximity of Provence to Italy. This mix is often used as a rub for meats, when grilled and roasted, for seafood and in vegetable dishes. Because of the similarities in ingredients to the Italian mix, you may actually use it for Italian dishes, just add some oregano to it.
Have a look at the recipes here and try them out.
Ever seen a beautiful roast out of a southern barbecue all black? Nope, it was not burned, it was a delicious blackening seasoning. In fact, is was the spice called Cajun, named after the French colonist settled in Mississippi. It is a mixture of paprika, garlic, thyme, oregano and a mixture of black and cayenne pepper. Usually it is used as a rub for fish or meat and then fried on the pan and grilled until “the blackening” takes place. Rather than actually being burned, it is the paprika that turns black when seared. This blend can be made as spice as you like, depending on the amount of cayenne used, however if you are planning on using it for fish, remember that fish is a delicate thing and you do not want to ruin its natural flavor.
Five-spice is a mixture of five, or more, spices, commonly used in the Chinese kitchen. The classic Chinese mixture is used to season fat meats, like duck and char siu (Chinese barbecue pork) for roasting and stir-frying. This blend creates a base for the meat with a deep and spicy flavor with a hint a sweetness, like a classical Asian dish. A standard five-spice blend includes star anise, cinnamon, cloves, Sichuan peppers and fennel seeds, but as mentioned it may contain even more spices and herbs, depending on your taste.
Old Bay seasoning
This is a popular seafood seasoning first made in the Chesapeake Bay in the beginning of the 20th century. This seasoning may often be used for seafood, but because of its mildness, it is also a great mix as an all-purpose seasoning to use for eggs, mixed root vegetables, chicken, French fries and the list goes on. This seasoning includes celery seed, bay leaf, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, mace, ginger, mustard, and paprika.