Spotlight: A Taste of Sunny Coastal Cali344
with Ashlee Redger
Test Kitchen Chef
Whenever someone asks me what I do and I explain my job as one of the Test Kitchen managers at Savory Spice, I’m asked the following three questions: what is the coolest thing I’ve ever cooked (it’s impossible to pick favorites, but cured egg yolks were a pretty fun experiment), do I need taste testers (sometimes!), and what is my favorite seasoning? I’ve got the answer to that last question on lock: Park Hill Maple Pepper for the cold months and Coastal Cali Fennel Pollen Rub for the summer.
I’ll admit it: these seasonings are similar. Both are blends with sweet and savory components (and are killer on Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes). Where they diverge though is the important bit. Park Hill is nuanced with warm flavors of ginger, nutmeg, and mustard while Coastal Cali packs a punch of citrus with orange peel, bright Ground Coriander Seeds, and golden orange Aji Amarillo Chile Powder—which lends the smallest touch of heat and a distinctive piquant fruitiness. Garlic, onion, and paprika all pitch in to add balance.
You may be asking: “What brings all those interesting flavors together?”
Have you ever heard of the spice of the angels? California Fennel Pollen is super aromatic and flavored with the ever-so-nice note that isn’t so much black licorice (which, I’ll say it: pretty much no one likes) as it is delicate, sweet anise.
I could wax poetic about the delicious complexity of this seasoning for days, but let’s get to the important stuff here: how to use it! If you’ve heard of a little thing called Spice Club, you might know that we used Coastal Cali in June to make Turkey Burgers with Cilantro Pesto Coleslaw. And what’s more classic California than a turkey (or bean!) burger?
The fennel pollen blend is also excellent in a quick homemade hummus (if you’ve never made hummus before, you can use our recipe and just replace the lemony Sumac with this seasoning). It makes an absolutely perfect snack to pack for a sunny day picnic or a workday pick-me-up snack.
Because it does have that savory/sweet balance, Coastal Cali is a phenomenal addition to fruit sauces, like this Quick Berry Jam. Make it with fresh or frozen cranberries during the fall or raspberries during the summer and slather it on bread, serve with roasted meats, or spread a layer onto crispy crackers and top with aged white cheddar cheese. Seriously, that jam is so easy and the bomb. I wouldn’t lie to you.
Do you love Coastal Cali like I do? Is there a seasoning that you could talk about forever? Let me know in the comments below or share your favorites on social media using #savoryspiceshop!