Welcome to the next installment of my Meet the Spice Blend series, where I'm sharing the inspiration for, back stories of, and uses for my ever-expanding collection of small batch, handcrafted spice blends. Next up, let's meet California Seaside!!
California Seaside was inspired by the way Coastal Southern California smells after a good winter rain, when the salty scent of the ocean mixes with the herbal fragrance of the wild bay, sage, rosemary, fennel, and sweet orange blossoms. It is the smell and flavor of home to me.
The Flavor Profile
California Seaside is a blend of fennel, rosemary, sage, dehydrated orange, bay leaf, nori (seaweed), and kosher salt and is solidly one of my most unique blends. It offers a captivating flavor profile that combines herbaceous, citrusy, and umami notes. The essence of rosemary infuses the blend with a pine-like aroma and a mildly minty, earthy taste while the fennel contributes a sweet and licorice-like undertone, complementing the overall savory character. Sage adds a robust and slightly peppery flavor, enhancing the blend's depth, and the presence of bay leaf lends a subtle bitterness and hints of floral and clove-like undertones. The inclusion of dehydrated orange adds a delightful citrusy brightness and a touch of sweetness. Finally, the addition of nori, a seaweed, introduces umami-rich elements with its briny and slightly nutty taste. Together, these ingredients create a spice blend that is both versatile and complex, perfect for adding depth and intrigue to a variety of dishes.
Versatility in the Kitchen - How to Use California Seaside
California Seaside, with its complex flavor profile is, not surprisingly, a very versatile spice blend. Here are a few ideas for how to use it:
Roasted Chicken: Rub California Seaside on a whole chicken before roasting to infuse it with a fragrant and savory aroma.
Grilled Fish: Sprinkle California Seaside on fish fillets before grilling to add a layer of herbaceous and citrusy notes, complementing the natural flavors of the fish.
Roasted Vegetables: Toss mixed vegetables with California Seaside and olive oil, then roast until tender and caramelized for a flavorful and aromatic side dish.
Tomato-based Sauces: Add California Seaside to tomato-based pasta sauces, stews, or soups to enhance their depth of flavor and bring a unique herbal twist.
Roasted Potatoes: Sprinkle California Seaside on roasted potatoes for an added layer of complexity, pairing well with their creamy texture.
Marinated Tofu or Tempeh: Mix California Seaside with soy sauce, garlic, and oil, then marinate tofu or tempeh for a delectable blend of flavors before grilling or pan-frying.
Citrusy Salad Dressing: Combine California Seaside with olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and Dijon mustard to create a tangy and aromatic dressing for fresh salads.
Steamed Rice: Sprinkle some California Seaside over a bowl of steamed white or brown rice
These are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless. Feel free to experiment and explore, adapting the spice blend to suit your taste and create exciting culinary experiences.
A Bite of Good Recipes that use California Seaside
Looking for some more concrete guidance on how to use California Seaside? Check out these A Bite of Good recipes!
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Fennel & Citrus Salad - Turn a humble head of cauliflower into a dish worthy of being at the center of your dinner table.
Fennel Risotto - This recipe is for all my fellow fennel lovers, and it uses fennel in ALL the ways. The fresh bulb is diced and sauteed so that it practically melts into the creamy rice. The fronds are reserved for the end to lend extra freshness. And fennel seeds are a key component in California Seaside.
Grilled Whole Fish with Citrus & Fennel Salad - While grilling a whole fish may sound intimidating, it's actually remarkably forgiving and makes a beautiful main course for a dinner party. Just watch for bones!
Foolproof Basic Vinaigrette - We eat a lot of salads in our household, but you won't find a single store-bought bottle of dressing in our fridge. There's no need when you follow this basic recipe.
In short, California Seaside is an incredibly versatile spice blend that can elevate nearly any dish. Ready to get your own California Seaside? Get it here.