Francine Maroukian
for Valet.
Piment d' Espelette

Price: $16 at Zingerman's

Where: Made from the prized red pepper grown around the Espelette Village in the Basque region of France, it tastes slightly smoky and warm, but not hot.

How: Think of it as the best paprika ever and use it in all the same savory dishes, from devilled eggs and mac and cheese to beef marinades and seafood pots.

  • Zingerman's Roadhouse's neon sign was crafted using deadstock materials from the 1950s.
Roadhouse Spicy Rub

Price: $10 at Zingerman's

Where: I was sitting at the Roadhouse counter in Ann Arbor, when Chef Alex Young started talking about making this rub and six years later, it is still a wonder. A deep rich coffee flavor is offset by the earthy spiciness of ground cloves and Urfa Turkish red pepper.

How: Use as a dry rub on pork or chicken. Or mix with chopped garlic and olive oil and smear it all over a turkey for the best browned bird you'll ever make. I've also sprinkled it on braised beef dishes like pot roasts or short ribs. But note: a little goes a long way.

Spice It Up

I'm not one for fancy preparation. I would rather apply straightforward cooking methods to the best ingredients and trust the food to do most of the work. However, occasionally I rely on a pinch of extra help to deliver a flavor bump: minimal effort, maximum result.


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