When we were in Memphis back in June, I did a little "advance shopping" while Marie was still asleep - she sleeps a lot more than me - and I was flipping through the Penzeys Spices catalog. She wrote then about how wild and satisfying a trip to one of Penzeys retail stores is, and the catalog's not far behind it in the getting-you-real-hungry stakes. Penzeys employs a team of very clever and imaginative copywriters to tell stories and give diners and chefs ideas for how to cook with their spices and seasonings, and I found my mouth watering with the prospect of trying out their Northwoods or Northwoods Fire concoction.
From their website:
Ooooh. If that doesn't make you want to drop some trout in a cast iron skillet with some olive oil and a thin pat of butter, there's just no hope for you.
And yet Marie broke my heart when, after she and her sister concluded their epic shopping trip to the Penzeys retail store in Memphis, there wasn't a jar of Northwoods or Northwoods Fire (which is pretty similar, but with extra paprika and chipotle) in her gargantuan bag. In all her frenzy and excitement about everything, my request was completely forgotten! She felt bad about it afterwards - mainly on account of me teasing her - and agreed that the next time that she placed a catalog order, or we went to a store, we'd get some for me. She realized that there was a store in Birmingham, and so a stop there was part of our recent day trip out there. Northwoods Fire was acquired, along with quite a few dollars' worth of other lovely spices in preparation for Christmas baking, and now it was down to me to get some fish.
I don't mind telling you that I was a little stymied in getting what I wanted here. Rather than trout, Marie and my daughter each agreed that they'd rather have salmon. I just went to the seafood counter at Publix and went with their bourbon-marinated salmon as that was the least expensive option. Honestly, it turned out even better than I hoped, so no complaints here.
So we had a little rice and some veggies and Marie gave the fillets a good coating of Northwoods Fire. We don't actually have a cast iron skillet, but we do have a quite spectacular grill that could be used four times as often with no complaint from me. Marie, by the way, is turning into quite the grillmaster. Her steaks are consistently amazing, but I think that this salmon might be her best concoction yet.
Having said that, I'm still keen to try this on some trout sometime soon. Maybe with a little squeeze of lemon? Mmmm. My mouth is tingling already.
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