I know you can buy a jar of blackening spice blend already made and ready to shake, rub and roll on your protein of choice. I know. And if you want to let the commercialized, agricultural-industrial complex (add evil, if are me) control your spice blend autonomy, deprive you of the chance to make your own cute formation of mounds of spices on a well-worn pie plate, rob you of the aroma of all these individual components as you measure them from their individual containers and mix them together, then fine.
But if you like to play with your food and you like saying “it’s my own blend” or “I threw this together myself” or “it’s an old recipe handed down to me from my catfishin’ folk down on the bayou” (even if your folk are all from Eastern Europe by way of The Bronx), then go ahead and make this and fly in the face of convenience. An added bonus is that you won’t have any sneaky additives in your homemade blend, like BHT or MSG or yeast extract or cellulose to prevent caking, or maltodextrin. I decided to make this when I saw a recipe for blackened Mahi Mahi sitting atop a rich puddle of grits that I knew I had to make. Here’s a sneak peek of the finished dish:
I’ll post the recipe for this tomorrow. In the meantime, make the spice blend and let it meld together for a day or so. Let the heady smells get you thinking about what each separate spice makes you remember or imagine, (don’t inhale too strongly, or it will make you remember your last head cold!), and what the earth-colored blend makes you hungry for.
Blackening Spice Blend
Adapted from Seven Stars Cookbook, Chef Brian Fairhurst, Harrah’s Las Vegas
2 tablespoons rd pepper flakes
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons chili powder *
3 tablespoons sweet paprika **
1 tablespoon fine sea salt or table salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon celery powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients, mixing well. Store in an airtight container and use within 6 months to ensure potency of flavors.
* For a smokier flavor use chipotle chili powder, if you can find it.
** If you can’t find chipotle chili powder you can use smoked paprika, but don’t use both, or the smoky flavor may be too dominant.