Food

Great on Everything 

Add Some Flair to Your Fare with OLD BAY seasoning

In the early spring in Pittsburgh, when it felt more like winter, I attended a wine and spirits show. As soon as I took a sip of their vodka I was reacquainted with a familiar flavor. “It’s OLD BAY seasoning, isn’t it?” The man behind the table quickly corrects, “No. It’s Bay seasoning;  we can’t say the other. Licensing thing, you know?”

I’ve used Bay seasoning on many different things, but I’ve never thought of infusing it into a spirit. The Bay vodka, if you’re not familiar, isn’t meant to drink straight up. Its sole purpose is to make the most kick-butt Bloody Mary—by adding a few dashes in the drink and rimming the glass with it. But if you’re Canadian, like me, a pretty wicked Caesar, eh?—made with clam juice along with the Bloody Mary usuals. 

OLD BAY has a cult following like Sriracha sauce and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This might be attributed to our aberrant need to photograph our food and share it. That said, I thought I’d share with you some of my tried and tested ways to use OLD BAY. After all, OLD BAY’s motto is: “1) It’s great on seafood and 2) it’s great on everything else.” 

1. Roasted potatoes or vegetables 

Toss cut vegetables in olive oil, OLD BAY, and salt and pepper to taste. Then roast in a 450-degree oven until tender.

Tip: I marinated my potatoes and vegetables for 30 minutes. This technique worked especially well for the potatoes.

2. Pasta sauces

For a twist on a seafood marinara or Alfredo sauce, toss in some OLD BAY for an extra zing. This also works for poultry.

Tip: Much like I would when making jambalaya, I recommend marinating your meat for at least an hour—this is especially true when using chicken breast.

 3. Stir-fries

Somehow the celery salt and paprika in the OLD BAY works well with soy sauce. It will certainly add flavor if you’re using tofu with your vegetables.

4. Coleslaw

A couple of teaspoons of OLD BAY on your traditional mayonnaise-based coleslaw and a couple of hours for the whole thing to marinate in the fridge, and you’ve got some oomph.

Tip: If you normally use caraway seeds, hold off. The flavors compete.

5. Barbecue sauce

 Take tomato or ketchup-based barbecue sauce up a few notches with a couple of teaspoons of OLD BAY. This works for more than seafood barbecue. OLD BAY has been a “secret ingredient” in grilling for years.

Tip: The ratio I used was 1 cup of ketchup to 3 teaspoons of OLD BAY.

6. Dredging mix

Mix a few tablespoons with the flour for anything you’re dredging to make favorites like fried chicken (marinate first with plain yogurt and OLD BAY) or schnitzel.

7. Burgers 

Don’t just get flavor from your burger fixings, add a couple of tablespoons to your ground meat or veggies and beans for a truly
flavorful burger.

8. Eggs (all ways)

All you need is a couple of dashes.

Tip: If you’re looking for an excuse to make crab cakes in the morning, use them for eggs Benedict, and finish the dish off with a dusting of OLD BAY.

9. Butter compound 

Get unsalted butter to room temperature, mix in a few teaspoons of OLD BAY, whip it up and roll it into parchment paper. Now you’ve got a flavorful topping for corn, popcorn, biscuits, fish and anything you’d put butter on. 

10. Kale chips

Cut the ribs off and lightly toss in olive oil and OLD BAY and you’ve got something healthy and special.

Tip: Don’t drench the kale in oil otherwise it won’t crisp. Cook the kale on low heat until it is crisp yet still tender—there’s a fine line between done and overdone.