LiveWell Louisiana

Spice It Up!

A new book inspires cooks to try bold new flavor combinations and to create custom spice blends.
January 2nd, 2017 by: Misty Miloto

Lior Lev Sercarz, a New York spice purveyor, is a go-to source for fresh and unusual spices as well as small-batch custom blends for renowned chefs around the world including Eric Ripert and New Orleans acclaimed chef Alon Shaya. As the chef and owner of La Boîte, a spice shop that Sercarz opened in New York City in 2006, it’s no surprise that he knows his stuff. His new book, The Spice Companion: A Guide to the World of Spices (Clarkson Potter, $40) is a definitive guide to building flavor, with a breakdown of 102 accessible spices that will change how readers cook. “Sercarz provides the history and origin of each spice, and he even includes helpful information on where to buy and how to store each one,” says Maria Muro, publisher of New Orleans Living and founder of LiveWell Louisiana.

“It’s an A to Z encyclopedia of all things tasty, with five different pairings, three quick suggestions for use, and a unique spice blend recipe and how to use it.”

For example, Sercarz explains how a spice as simple as black pepper can transform dishes such as Steak au Poivre and Cacio e Pepe — and how an Aleppo chile can work wonders in guacamole and chocolate chip cookies alike. There’s also gorgeous illustrations and vibrant photography, so it’s a beautiful resource to add to your home cooking collection.