Growing up, the word “spices” meant dried oregano, dried basil, paprika, chili pepper, and a handful of other pretty basic cupboard standards. It’s only been more recent that I’ve begun to discover the truly delicious and absurd number of flavors and aromas available through spice markets like Kalustyans and Penzeys. Even still, when a co-worker handed me a nice sized container labeled “anjwain” I was stumped. But with a little taste and some great advice to “fry” up the anjwain before using, I was off to make a spice rubbed and seared skirt steak perfect for a summer salad.
That is until I came across this local day boat squid which was too fresh to pass up! And while I am sure the beef would have been delicious, the calamari was a perfect canvas for the anjwain to shine. Frying the spice in a bit of oil just before the quick squid saute really did make the difference here. The flavors were brightened with a squeeze of lime and the earthiness of the anjwain and black pepper made this otherwise simple salad, really damn delicious. With a flavor similar to thyme but with much more of a punch, anjwain is a great addition to the spice cabinet.
So, what are some of your favorites? Leave a comment here to be eligible to win a jar of my very own spice mix!