Fearless. That's how critic Patric Kuh describes 25-year-old chef Miles Thompson of Allumette, which was just named one of L.A.'s Best New Restaurants. Thompson's smoked spice blend—a motley of bay leaves, yellow mustard seeds, chili flakes, dried lavender, paprika, peppercorns, kala jeera (an earthy relative of cumin—find it at Penzy's in Santa Monica or Spice Market in Silver Lake), and coriander seeds—is the perfect little something-something every cook needs on his or her pantry shelf. The young chef uses it to spruce up long-legged carrots, but it would offer intrigue to everything from steamed broccoli to roasted lamb. A heady mix that gets at the heart of the cerebral cooking happening now at Allumette, it's just the warmth we're craving on cool January nights.
Miles Thompson's Secret Spice Blend
2 each Dried Bay Leaves
4 grams Coriander Seeds
4 grams Kala Jeera
4 grams Yellow Mustard Seeds
4 grams Black Peppercorns
4 grams Chili Flakes
2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
1 tablespoon Dried Lavender
- Slowly toast all ingredients except for the chili flakes, paprika, and lavender in a dry pan, tossing occasionally.
- Once the spices are gently smoking, add the remaining ingredients and toss vigorously to cool the pan while toasting the more delicate spices.
- Allow the spices to cool in the pan.
- Grind the spice mixture to a fine powder in a spice grinder.
- Store in an airtight container until ready to use. Mixture will keep for up to six months.