SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If you're like most people, you have all kinds of little spice jars in your cabinet or pantry. Do you what what they are? Do you know when you bought them? And when is the last time you used that cardamon?
Joey Maggiore, son of Tomaso Maggiore of Phoenix's beloved Tomaso's, knows his spices, and cardamon is not on his list of essentials.
An expert in the kitchen, Maggiore, who recently opened Cuttlefish Ocean Kitchen at the Shops at Gainey Village, spent some time talking spices with 3TV's Heidi Goitia, and what he had to say will not only surprise you, it will save you money!
According to Maggiore, if you have a whole shelf or rack of spices, you have far too many, most of which you probably do not use much.
He says you can narrow your inventory down to just five -- yes, five -- spices that will serve you nicely for pretty much any meal you can imagine.
Herbs de Provence -- A mixture of dried rosemary, basil, chervil, tarragon, garlic, thyme and parsley, this is a grown-up cook's sophisticated version of Lawry's seasoning. great for tomato sauce, seafood, vinaigrettes, compound butters and more, this jar is a multitasker.
Coriander -- This secret weapon is actually the seed of the cilantro herb.Dried and ground, it's a soft and delicate spice that enhances roasted vegetables and lightly seasons grilled seafood.
Whole Bay Leaf -- Easy does it. Just one of these leaves can flavor an entire stock pot. The flavor is deep and big. Add it to soups, stocks, broths and sauces. This one will make a home cook's food fit for a restaurant.
Crushed Red Pepper/Chili flakes -- Heat + flavor = fabulous! Maggiore likes to store this one in the fridge. The oils in the pepper can go bad in the cupboard if the temperature gets too hot.
Oregano -- Maggiore likes dried better than fresh. Home cooks using fresh oregano can accidentally add a soapy taste to their food. Dried oregano stored well is a great finish to broths and stews, but can stand up to bold dishes like steak or clams.
Maggiore says oregano is probably the most under-utilized spice in your kitchen.
Keep in mind that most spices expire within three to six months. If you want them to last the way they should, you need to be careful how you store them.
Light, moisture and heat are the worst enemies of spices, so keep them in a tightly-sealed container in a cool, dark place.
While it might be convenient, do not store them in the cupboard near the stove or oven. Heat rises and shortens the life of the spices.
When you buy spices, make sure to put a date on them so you know when it's time to get rid of them.
Located at 8777 N. Scottsdale Road, Cuttlefish Ocean Kitchen serves lunch and dinner daily. For more information or to make a reservation, call 480-947-3214 or check out CuttlfishScottsdale.com.