I was making a Creole-inspired dish last weekend. Instead of measuring out the tons of ingredients I need for the spices, I figure I’ll stop by the spice aisle and buy a Creole Spice mix. I know, crazy lazy. I’m looking over the few options I have, because I guess “Creole” and “Cajun” are 80s artifacts that are no longer reliably stocked, and instead I find spice mixes labeled either “southwest”, some type of “rub”, or “steak” seasoning. I managed to spy about three “Creole” or “Cajun” seasoning options, but all were lackluster. In every case, salt was the number one ingredient followed by “spices” and in some brands “MSG”, an anti-caking agent, and soy proteins made appearances on the ingredient lists. Um, no thanks. I’ll make my own. I want my spices to be spices and not cost me $5 for salt with a pinch of herbs and unknowns.
So, I consulted my Louisiana chefs (via their various cookbooks), Emeril and Paul Prudhomme, and came up with a fairly standard Creole Seasoning Mix. Creole mixes are a deft combination of spicy and savory. The harmony of the different ground peppers is the key. Each ground pepper hits a different spicy note. Also, the white pepper should not be underestimated or omitted. You can make a quite spicy dish with white and black pepper. The white pepper adds a great depth to the spicy flavor.
Besides being awesome in any Creole or Cajun dish, this spice mix is a great grilling rub. You don’t have to say it’s a “Creole” rub if that gives you day glow and rubber bracelet flashbacks, maybe something like “rustic”, “bayou” or “southeast” rub would work as well.
1/2 cup paprika
4 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons granulated garlic (or powdered garlic)
1 1/2 tablespoons cayenne
1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons white pepper
1 tablespoon crushed, dried thyme
1 tablespoon crushed, dried oregano
Combine ingredients and store in an airtight container until ready to use.