Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pointless recipe: Mediterranean spice rub

Now that the weather is nicer (ha, it went from 80º to 60º in less than 24 hours, I love you, Oregon!), our thoughts have turned to barbecue.

Oh, wait. I mean "grilling." Barbecue in the Pacific Northwest is a completely different beast than barbecue basically anywhere else.

Anyway. Once upon a time, when I was young and fresh and hopeful, barbecuing meant marinading meat overnight and then letting Eric cook the crap out of it. We've both learned a thing or two over the course of our 20 year relationship, one of which is this:

Marinades are hard.

I mean, not the mixing and the pouring, obviously, but the remembering to get my act together the night before. I get distracted by books a lot. Fast forward to 2005-ish when I discovered the ease and beauty that is a spice rub.

It's totally genius--you mix your herbs and spices and whatnots together, and then right before you put your meat on the grill, you pour olive oil over the whole ordeal and sprinkle with the rub. And then rub it in! There's no remembering to do anything the night before. There's no preplanning involved at all.

It's like the best thing that's ever happened to me. (Um, besides coffee, Eric and the kids, of course.)


This is the recipe I have been making for literally nine years running. I always have a jar of this in my pantry. I have given jars of it for gifts. I have put it on beef, fish, pork, chicken and potatoes.

I have adapted it--I don't do very well with ultra-salty anything, so I've cut back on that quite a bit, plus I believe in lots of herbs--but this is essentially what was published in my beloved Everyday Food Magazine*, which is now defunct, and the world poorer for it.

My notes in parenthesis because I can.

Mediterranean All-purpose Spice Rub
Makes approximately 1 1/4 cups

1-2 tablespoons coarse salt (original recipe calls for 1/3 cup. Holy shit!)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (I always buy dark because hello, it's delicious)
1/4 cup paprika
1-2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
(P.S. if you're missing some of these herbs, who cares? Just add more of something you have. Trust me, it will work out just fine)

Place all of that in a jar and blend well. (You might have to use your fingers, it's okay, I won't tell.) Store in airtight container away from heat and light, up to six months. (Like it'll last that long.)

To use: Rub whatever it is you're cooking with oil, then sprinkle on some rub, then rub it into the meat (or not) and then grill. Or bake. Or broil. Or roast. Or pan fry. You can't lose.

The end. You're welcome.

*The magazine article listed variations, of which this is one. The link doesn't show those, unfortunately. But hey, we do what we can.

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