If you’ve been a visitor on the recipe pages here in Glover Gardens, you’ve probably noticed that we use a lot of herbs and spices in our recipes. This has led me to create spice mixes, a handful of go-to blends with flavor themes that make it easy to whip up something homemade with a kick-start of flavor. The first one was Zippy Southwest, since I really like the cuisine and flavors of the American southwest. In fact, Zippy Southwest was the first recipe I posted here in the blog, back on March 1, 2015, the blog’s first day. The success of Zippy Southwest with my friends and family was one of the reasons I started the blog. There are links to all of the spice mixes at the bottom of the post.
Zippy Sicilian is the Latest Spice Mix in the Glover Gardens Portfolio
The latest Glover Gardens spice mix is called Zippy Sicilian, which is a blend of herbs and spices that are commonly used in Italian-inspired dishes, the amped up ones that bring a burst of flavor and make you wistful for the salt air of the Mediterranean coast.
I created Zippy Sicilian recently during the period of the Great Glover Gardens Kitchen Remodel, AKA the Glover Gardens Kitchen 2.0 (still ongoing as of this post), when we were locked out of the kitchen. We used the cast iron skillet in the outdoor kitchen quite a bit, and had a makeshift ‘cooking corner’ in our dining room, using part of our dining table covered with a beach towel for assembly and prep, and turning to the toaster oven and microwave atop temporary pieces of displaced furniture. The only dinner choice that particular night was chicken breasts, and I wanted to make them Italian-ish, piccata-like, yummy—without doing much other than pounding and then patting some spices on them. I realized that the herbs and spices I was considering would be good in many more dishes, gave my options a little thought, and then rolled up my sleeves to create Zippy Sicilian.
The Reviews for Zippy Sicilian
So, how did I do on my first try in creating an Italian-flavored spice mix?
“A home run,” the Grill-Meister called it.
“This will be in our Christmas stockings, right?” said our millennials.
Yes, it’s in the stocking, and now, it’s here in the blog so that you can make it yourself.
Zippy Sicilian Recipe
The ingredients for Zippy Sicilian aren’t unexpected or unique, but the way they are combined in this mix is delizioso. A trio of herbs—oregano, thyme and basil—are complemented with two types of pepper (red pepper flakes and ground black pepper), onion powder, salt, and garlic in two forms: fine garlic powder and minced dried garlic. This double-whammy of garlic is part of the power and charm of Zippy Sicilian.
- 1 tbsp. + 2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
- 1 tbsp. dried thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp. dried basil leaves
- 1 tbsp. + 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. fine garlic powder
- 2 tsp minced dried garlic
- 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp. finely ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Makes about a half cup.
Note: Zippy Sicilian is great to have on hand at all times or to give away (as I do in Christmas stockings); you can make it in bulk by changing the amounts: 1 tsp. to 1/3 cup and 1 tbsp. to 1 cup.
Ways to Use Zippy Sicilian
Zippy Sicilian is super-versatile. As I mentioned above, I made it to dress up chicken breasts without prepping a lot of other ingredients. The Grill-Meister was all over it for a panini. He makes dinner each week on what we call “Sandwich Wednesday” (click here for some of his recipes / masterpieces) and seized the Zippy Sicilian Chicken Breast leftovers for a lovely panini that week. With tomatoes, red onion, spinach, pesto and mozzarella joining the spicy chicken, it was delizioso.
Here are more ways to soak up the yummy goodness of the zesty Zippy Sicilian spice mix:
- Sprinkled atop rolls after brushing melted butter on them, before cooking, to spice them up, or used for an amped-up garlic bread
- As the seasoning in a pasta dish – we recently tossed pasta with olive oil, Zippy Sicilian, capers and grated romano for a quick side dish
- As a seasoning for homemade croutons or toasted bread crumbs to use as a topping for a savory casserole
- In a dish with olive oil, for dipping bread
- Combined with olive oil to make a marinade; add an acid like lemon or balsamic vinegar for more punch
- Combined with olive oil and brushed on vegetables before grilling
- As a seasoning for just about any grilled meat
- Added to chicken noodle soup to make it more interesting and lively
- Mixed with ground beef, bread crumbs and some diced onion and bell pepper to make a Zippy Sicilian meatloaf
- Spread on pizza dough before baking to make a flatbread, or on focaccia or na’an
- Mixed with tomato sauce to make a quick pizza sauce or pasta sauce
- With potatoes: sprinkled on french fries or baked spuds, or tossed with diced or cubed potatoes before baking
- In a rice dish, or risotto
- Tossed with gnocchi, heavy cream and grated parmesan or romano
- A seasoning for sauteed mushrooms, zucchini, carrots or various other vegetables
- Mixed with olive oil and vinegar to make a quick Italian dressing
- …. and much more, which will evolve as we use this versatile spice mix
The Glover Gardens Family of Spice Mixes
The first one was Zippy Southwest, AKA as just plain “Zippy”.
The next was Zippy Cajun, for our love of cajun-creole cooking.
Next came Everything Rub, which is a spicy-sweet rubs that was created for our Spicy-Sweet Honey Chipotle Pork Spareribs and its accompanying barbecue sauce, but we quickly realized that it was good on many, many more dishes.