Liven Up Your Cooking with The Spice Lab

Grilled bread with cheese, tomatoes and basil that gets a generous sprinkling of The Spice Lab's Pizza Dust Seasoning.
Grilled bread with cheese, tomatoes and basil that gets a generous sprinkling of The Spice Lab’s Pizza Dust Seasoning.

How to make a simple slice of grilled bread taste like actual pizza?

Just shake on a generous amount of The Spice Lab’s Pizza Dust Seasoning.

Close your eyes, take a bite, and you’ll taste the sweetness of tomato, the pungency of garlic, a kiss of anise from fennel, a hit of warm spice from Aleppo pepper, and a subtle bread-y note from yeast flakes. In short, a close approximation to your favorite sausage pizza.

Based in Pompano Beach, FL, The Spice Lab is a family-owned business that turns out award-winning sea salts and unique seasoning blends that are all natural and kosher certified, with a good many of them gluten-free. The company, housed in a sweeping 125,000-square-foot facility, also makes custom blends, including the Nom Nom Paleo seasoning powders for best-selling cookbook author Michelle Tam.

The Spice Lab’s chef-in-residence Fiona Kennedy recently reached out to send samples for me to try.

The Pizza Dust Seasoning ($8.95 for a 4.4-ounce jar) is definitely a favorite with its zesty blend that also contains Hudson Valley salt, onion, turbinado sugar, chili flakes and green onion. Each label is printed with suggestions from “Chef Fiona’s Corner” on how to use the seasoning, such as sprinkling this one on scrambled eggs, French fries, garlic bread, and rice, or mixing it into meatballs or burgers.

The Pizza Dust Seasoning.
The Pizza Dust Seasoning.

I took my grilled bread one step further, melting Jack cheese overtop, and finishing with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil, along with the Pizza Dust, to create a summery nosh worth remembering. I even sprinkled Pizza Dust on roasted carrots to give them a big punch of flavor.

Island Jerk Seasoning jazzes up grilled chicken.
Island Jerk Seasoning jazzes up grilled chicken.

I’ve made jerk seasoning from scratch before. It’s not difficult, but it does require a lot of ingredients to get right. The Spice Lab’s Island Jerk Seasoning ($8.95 for a 4.4-ounce shaker jar) makes far easier work of that. I just brushed oil over a whole chicken, then sprinkled on the seasoning, a blend of salt, crystallized molasses, onion, garlic, allspice, smoked paprika, ginger, green onion, chili pepper, cumin, thyme, cinnamon, white pepper, and nutmeg.

Marinating overnight in the fridge, the chicken was grilled, resulting in a moist bird with a definite kick of heat, along with the unmistakable fruity, earthy, Caribbean taste of allspice with the sweet warmth of paprika. It would also be wonderful on grilled shrimp, fish, pork, or even tofu.

A closer look at the Island Jerk Seasoning.
A closer look at the Island Jerk Seasoning.

The Smoky Maple ($8.95 for a 4.4-ounce jar) was made for summer salmon, especially if you love the taste of it cooked on a cedar plank over the coals. Truth be told, you could sprinkle on this seasoning and cook the fish in the oven or in a pan on the stovetop if you don’t have a grill — and still end up with fish that tastes sweet from maple sugar, bright from thyme, and yes, even a bit smoky, thanks to the addition of smoked sea salt. “Chef Fiona” also recommends using it on chicken or even Brussels sprouts. I think it would be ideal on holiday sweet potatoes, too.

The Spice Lab makes more than 300 different salts, peppers, sugars, spices, and seasoning blends. The hardest part is choosing which one to try first.

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