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We recently paid a visit to our local fish market to get supplies for some upcoming videos we want to share with you. Yes, there will be crab and yes there will be shrimp. Before the crustaceans there must be seasoning. Good, hearty seafood seasoning is in order. As the norm, most would choose good, old fashioned, Old Bay to sprinkle on their boil pot or crabcakes, but this is filled with salt and I think we can do better using what we have on hand. So let's make some salt free seafood seasoning!
We are at the height of summer and in my neck of the woods, eastern North Carolina, that means the seafood is plentiful and extra delicious. Pulled fresh from the waters just minutes off the coast from where I live shrimp and crab and fresh striped bass, spot and other fish are abundant. Nothing beats fresh NC seafood and in the process we get to help the local commercial fisherman provide for their families!
This is by no means a highly researched blend. This is just a blend that makes sense to me. It did not go without research however, I did read and dig a little. The main components are ground bay leaf and ground celery seed, with lots of paprika, both sweet and smoked, making a supporting appearance. There is no onion or garlic in this blend as in many of my others, but there is ginger, mustard, parsley and a whole passel of warm spices that you would normally associate with a holiday fruit cake but play an important role here. Even though the warm spices are in very small amounts they are somewhat important to the overall flavor this seasoning blend presents.
I counted 18 different herbs and spices. This was daunting even for me! I had everything I used on hand and did not purchase anything additional. I understand that many of you may not have a few of these things and they may be too expensive for your budget. I say leave out what you don't have, unless it is the bay leaf, celery seed and paprika. I would not leave those out because they are the real basis for the structure of this seasoning. The cardamom, corriander and lemon juice powder are nice but not necessary. They warm spices are easy enough. If all you have are cinnamon and clove, then toss those in and leave out what you don't have.
After I made this and we had finished the video, I poured out some Old Bay and some of mine on to a parchment side by side. I could barely tell the difference. In taste, mine is more brilliant because of the added lemon juice powder, and a bit more spicy because of the addition of smoked paprika. Overall they were virtually the same. I was quite pleased with how this turned out.
Salt Free Seafood Seasoning
Old Bay Copycat
2 tablespoons ground bay leaf
2 tablespoons ground celery seed
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons lemon juice powder (true lemon)
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Step by Step Instructions
Place all ingredients into a pint jar. Place the lid on tightly and shake well.
Shake before each use.
Sprinkle liberally on all seafood dishes. Great for crab and shrimp boils as well as sprinkling on broiled fish and all seafood.
Dirty rice has a murky history. The one thing that is for certain is that it was born of the African American population of the deep south such as the Louisiana Bayou, the Mississippi Delta as well as the Carolina low country. Those people who hail from Africa who used what they had, ate what they were given and most times had to be very resourceful with their food supply. They mixed rice with aromatics such as celery, onions and bell peppers with small pieces of meat, which in most cases would have been "offal" or organ meats such as chicken gizzards, hearts and livers. Sometimes sausage was used. As time moved on and people yearned for the food of their ancestors, what they had grown up with, they added ground beef or chicken to the mix to make this a truly delicious meal.
I have made this a salt free version for those who are on restricted diets and because I like to salt my food to my taste by adding it in when and where I desire. If you prefer to have an all inclusive seasoning blend, then go ahead and add the salt. You can add between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of fine salt, table salt, canning salt or Himalayan pink salt if you like. I would stay away from kosher salt because of it's large crystals.
We used this in a crab cake recipe as well as a down east shrimp boil. It was delightful. I plan on keeping this one stocked in my kitchen. We enjoy seafood all year round, but in the summer there are shrimp, clams, oysters and more that bless our region with abundance and we feast!
I hope you will give this seafood seasoning a try the next time you want to cook up some good old fashioned down home seafood and I hope you love it!
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
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