Thursday, January 08, 2009

Doing My Research

I don't know whether to call the dish we enjoyed last night spicy, "herbed" or sweet salmon... I may just have to leave it at some mix of all three.

Yes, the sweet flavor was unmistakable... and I certainly detected and enjoyed the subtle smoky paprika flavor, but then the addition of cinnamon and thyme? Are all these flavors considered spices or herbs anyway... or does it even matter?

I've actually been wondering this for a while now but this recipe was the last straw - it turns out that both spices and herbs "can consist of flower buds, bark, seeds, leaves or many other parts of a plant" and that "[o]ver time the definitions for spices and herbs have changed a bit. In the past, spices have been categorized as fragrant, aromatic plant products like cinnamon, cloves, ginger and pepper. These spices are found in plants grown in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. While herbs have always been recognized as the more green, leafy products like mint, rosemary and thyme grown in more temperate areas.

But according to the American Spice Trade Association, today spices have become known as 'any dried plant product used primarily for seasoning purposes.' This all-inclusive definition seems to cover a wide range of plants like herbs, spice seeds and even dehydrated vegetables and spice blends."

Admittedly, it felt good to find out that I'm not the only one who's pretty confused about these things... and we can all be comforted that no matter what you call the ingredients, this Smoked Paprika Roasted Salmon with Wilted Spinach is still delicious!

*as usual, I made very few changes... this time only adding some thinly sliced, sauteed garlic to the wilted spinach

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