Here at Plated, we believe in amping up dinner in all the right ways. One of our go-to techniques for bringing boldness to recipes is, you guessed it, spices! We’re always experimenting with different cuisines and spice blends, so we thought we’d let you in on some of our much-loved spice and herb varieties.
Pronounced “EHRB duh proh-VAWNS,” this aromatic herb blend hails from the Southern French region known as Provence and most commonly features lavender, fennel seed, marjoram, basil, rosemary, sage, and thyme. There are many varieties, but these are the most traditional ingredients. We love using the blend to season milder proteins like chicken breasts and pork chops, and as a seasoning in sautéed shallot salad dressing.
When we first encountered sumac, we’d truly never tried anything like it. Sometimes spelled “sumaq,” this Middle Eastern spice is actually a berry that is dried, then ground into a powder. It’s a dark reddish hue, with a slightly fruity, tangy flavor. We use it to flavor proteins (like in this recipe from our collab with Gail Simmons), as well as roasted vegetables and dressings.
Used primarily in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, ground coriander has a lemony floral quality that adds earthiness and depth to all kinds of dishes. Coriander is often used in curry spice blends, and we combine it with garlic powder for a combination that works equally well on vegetables and chicken (like this Persian take from Plated).
Szechuan peppercorns are unlike any other spice in many ways. Commonly used in Chinese cuisine, this super fragrant ingredient (which is actually not a peppercorn at all, but a husk) also has an interesting physical effect: It makes your mouth tingle and (temporarily) affects your taste buds! Inspired by one of our favorite dishes, we used it recently to season ground pork for a hearty noodle dish.
Sure, you know fennel, the white-and-green vegetable with the large bulb and dill-like fronds at the top. Fennel seeds are harvested, and produce a distinct anise-inflected flavor profile that is quite unique. The aromatic seeds are often found in Italian sausage as a flavoring, and we also like to grind them to season meats, particularly pork chops.
How could we sing the praises of some of our favorite spices without including bright yellowish-orange turmeric on the list? A relative of the ginger family often used in various Asian—especially Indian—cuisines, turmeric adds earthiness and a magical golden color to any dish it touches. It is much-loved also for its anti-inflammatory properties. We use it widely at Plated, especially to season chicken thighs and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes.
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