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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A new spice for life: OLD BAY

Have you ever experienced a moment when you see a brand or product that you have 'known' for years and realize you actually know nothing about it?

     For years, I have passed by the OLD BAY Seasoning canister in the spice aisle. I have heard it mentioned in recipes over time and recently I was watching one of those cooking shows on television and heard the guest cook rave about OLD BAY Seasoning and how it is a staple in his spice repertoire. I still thought nothing about this seasoning, and still had never considered purchasing or using it.

     And then it happened, I was in the spice aisle at the grocery store the other day, as I needed a few spices for some new recipes, and the OLD BAY canister was staring at me. I decided to buy it not really having a plan on how I was going to use it, but I figured, its a vintage looking canister and matched with my kitchen decor none-the less.

     The next day, my husband came home for lunch and had a paper bag in tow with a pound of shell on jumbo shrimp he had picked up from the fish store. I had a different dinner planned for that evening, but with a bag of fresh uncooked shrimp, I needed to change the "What's for dinner?" question. The shrimp were beautiful and I really wanted to do them justice by cooking them in a special way. We discussed possibly grilling them on the barbecue (shrimps on the barbie!) by simply dressing them with oil and salt, similar to a dish we had in San Francisco the day prior at one of our favorite tapas restaurants, Picaro ( And then it hit me, I had just purchased that OLD BAY Seasoning, and it self proclaims it's the seasoning for seafood, and with that "same great taste for over 70 years," how could we not try it?

     The first recipe listed on the back of the canister is for Steamed Shrimp and we went for it.

2 tbsp. OLD BAY Seasoning
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 lb. shrimp, in shells
In saucepan, combine first 3 ingredients. Bring to boil. Add shrimp, stir gently. Cover; steam until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Drain; remove shells.

     It was absolutely delicious. Just those few minutes steaming in the pot, the shrimp were so rich and flavorful. In fact, we kept burning our fingers because we couldn't help but dive in within seconds of draining out the steaming broth. The shrimp were salty, smokey and infused with that 'great taste' OLD BAY promised. I served pan roasted broccoli with lemon and garlic and spaghetti alla checca (tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil, S & P, parmesan cheese) on the side. Our bellies were happy and full with good eats.

     I am so happy to now 'know' OLD BAY and have it in my arsenal of spices! If you are like me and have never used this seasoning, I recommend you immediately get a canister and try out this seasoning that has been celebrated for all these years and get in the "know."

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