Spring 2020 Edition
Following a season of hearty stews and creamy casseroles, chefs highlight their menus and refresh our taste buds with seasonal produce and vibrant flavors. While welcome, this transition can be a challenge for the chef. How can they enhance the flavors of springtime ingredients without compromising their fresh natural essence? Our recommendation is simple: update your spice cabinet. Bursting with flavor, a small amount of any high-quality spice can go a long way in elevating a dish, without overpowering it.
Eastern Mediterranean Spice Blends
This spring, we’re utilizing spice blends that hail from the Eastern Mediterranean. From spicy Schug and earthy Za’atar to purple Sumac and crunchy Dukkah, these spices boast a wide array of flavors, textures, and colors that can spice up a variety of dishes, from traditional tagines to trendy grain bowls. Follow along for a tasty introduction to our top Eastern Mediterranean spice blend picks.
Za’atar Spice Blend
Za’atar is one of the cornerstones of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. A fine mix of herbs (thyme and oregano), sumac and sesame seeds, it has an earthy and herbaceous flavor with a touch of zest. Typically served on top of thick yogurt known as labne, it can also be used as a rub on roasted vegetables such as eggplant, carrots, and potatoes or mixed into dressings.
Dukkah Spice Blend
An Egyptian dry spice blend made with peanuts, sesame seeds, and dried herbs, Dukkah has a smoky, nutty flavor and delightfully crunchy texture. Traditionally served with olive oil and flatbread, try it as a crust on fish and lamb or sprinkled atop salads, dips, fried chickpeas, or popcorn for added texture.
Schug Spice Blend
This Yemeni spice blend can be found as a paste, as well as, a dry spice mix. Schug has a strong pleasant heat with bright, fruity undertones. Blend this fiery mix of chili peppers and spices with water and olive oil to form a perfect spread for falafel sandwiches. Also try it as an all-purpose, spicy seasoning for eggs, chicken, fish, or pork.
Harissa Spice Blend
This Tunisian spice mix is a vibrant blend with a mild heat. Sweet paprika is complemented by garlic and whispers of caraway and hot chili powder. Blend with olive oil or a little water and rub on poultry for a delicious tagine, or use to enhance tomato-based dishes such as marinara sauce or chili.
Ras el Hanout Spice Blend
Originally from Morocco, this spice blend owes its autumnal fragrance and warm, complex flavor to turmeric, allspice, and cumin. Commonly used in tagines or as a dry rub for lamb or poultry, it can also be used in sweets like cake and ice cream for a bold twist.
Available in these sizes:
Item# 75072 – 12/3 oz. view product
Shawarma Spice Blend
Shawarma is a fragrant and earthy spice blend enlivened by citrusy coriander and sweet fenugreek. It is typically blended with yogurt, vinegar, garlic, and onions and poured over thin slices of meat, skewered over a long spit and grilled to juicy perfection. We recommend mixing it into a burger blend or chicken salad for a pop of flavor.
This tart and citrusy deep red spice is made with crushed sumac berries. It can be used in place of vinegar or lemon juice to brighten a dish. Try it sprinkled on grilled meats, dusted atop a salad, or use to decorate the rim of a cocktail glass for a unique alternative to salt.
Available in these sizes:
Item# 75054 – 4/16 oz. view product
From Our Culinary Team
Looking for inspiration? Our Culinary Team has cooked up two springtime dishes featuring our Eastern Mediterranean spice blends. Don’t forget to check out their seasonal kitchen tips and tricks below too!
Roasted Shawarma Cauliflower with Schug
Difficulty: Easy ~ Makes: 20 servings
Humble cauliflower intermingles with the lively flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean in this veggie-forward dish.
Ingredients for the Cauliflower
- 10 whole cauliflower, about 2 lbs. each
- 1 ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 10 Tbsp. Shawarma Spice Blend
- 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. black pepper, ground
Ingredients for the Schug Sauce
- 10 garlic cloves
- 5 serrano peppers, stem removed but seeds left in
- 4 bunches of cilantro
- 5 Tbsp. Schug Spice Blend
- 5 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 ½ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 5 tsp. kosher salt
Optional for garnish:
- 1 ¼ cups Date Syrup
- Trim the leaves and the base of the cauliflower leaving the core intact. Cut two, 1 ½” thick steaks from the middle of each head.
- Combine the remaining cauliflower ingredients into a seasoning paste. Gently rub all over the cauliflower steaks, making sure to keep them intact as much as possible. Roast covered at 450°F for 15 minutes. Then, uncover and cook an additional 5 minutes on each side, until browned and tender.
- To make the schug sauce, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl once.
- Drizzle the cauliflower steaks with Date Syrup and serve with the schug sauce on the side.
Sumac Tilapia with Roasted Fennel and Lemon
Difficulty: Easy ~ Makes: 8 servings
Sometimes, less is more. This bright and citrusy dish is a testament to the fact that only one pan and a few basic ingredients can create a delicious result.
- 8 ea boneless, skinless tilapia filets
- 4 ea fennel bulbs, including tops
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
- 2 lemons
- 1 tsp. Ground Sumac
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. finely ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Slice 1 lemon into ¼-½” thick slices. Juice the additional lemon and set aside.
- Prepare fennel by removing the fronds and reserving. Slice the fennel bulbs, about ½” thick.
- In a large roasting pan, toss the sliced fennel with 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and spread evenly on the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Roast for 15 minutes. Then turning to cook evenly, roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
- Season both sides of the tilapia with Ground Sumac, salt, and pepper, and place on top of the roasted fennel. Lay lemon slices in the roasting pan with the filets and sprinkle some fennel leaves on top.
- Roast for an additional 10 to 12 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Garnish with additional fennel leaves, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and lemon juice as desired.
Springtime Tips & Tricks
Easter – Lamb
A naturally tender cut of meat, leg of lamb does not need to be marinated. In fact, this unnecessary step can make the meat tougher. Coat the exterior of the cut with a combination of Dijon Mustard and fresh chopped herbs for a delicate but flavorful touch.
Wellness – Herbs
Herbs and spices can amp up the flavor of almost any dish, while also contributing powerful wellness benefits, such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It can also kick up your meal without adding extra calories or fat.
2020 Pizza Expo in Las Vegas
We want to personally invite you to our booth at the 2020 International Pizza Expo. Join us for cooking demonstrations by our Culinary Team, pizza trends, side dish, and catering ideas, and much much more. In the meantime, enjoy our pizza-inspired tips and tricks and recipe!
Pizza Tips & Tricks
Brush your crust with a flavored or infused oil! This step, in conjunction with your oven, creates a divine texture and color, adds aroma and flavor, and makes toppings such as cheese and herbs bind better to the crust.
Simple is best when choosing pizza toppings. A few carefully selected ingredients will allow each flavor to shine, but too much variety or a heavy hand can lead to longer cook times and potentially affect the quality of the pizza.
Lebanese Breakfast Pizza
Difficulty: Easy ~ Makes: 6-8 Slices of 12” Thin Crust
Switch up a breakfast or brunch menu with this eye-catching pizza – 26% of consumers say they enjoy eating foods that are associated with lunch or dinner for breakfast (Restaurant Business).
- 8 oz. fresh pizza dough or a 12″ thin crust pizza
- 3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 Tbsp. Za’atar Spice Blend
- ¼ cup Diced Fire-Roasted Red Peppers
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 ea large eggs
- ¼ cup baby arugula or red sorrel
- salt & pepper to taste
- Roll out fresh pizza dough to a 12″ round thin crust pizza or place a premade 12″ thin crust pizza on a nonstick sheet tray or baking stone.
- Take 2 of the 3 Tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and spread across the entire pizza crust.
- Bake in oven until approximately 3 minutes before it’s fully cooked.
- Remove from the oven and generously sprinkle the Za’atar Spice Blend across the pizza, using it all. Add the Diced Fire-Roasted Red Peppers and place back in the oven to finish cooking.
- Fry 2 eggs in a pan and place them on opposite sides of the pizza, once cooked.
- Garnish with dollops of sour cream, the greens, and the remaining Tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Special thanks to the chefs from the Roland Foods Culinary Team for their contribution to this Gazette Edition: