French cooks are not known as spice enthusiasts, but this classic blend is the most popular in France where it is an ubiquitous seasoning in cured meats, salami, pâtés and terrines. White pepper is the key ingredient, although some blends include allspice berries (Jamaica pepper) instead of pepper, and cinnamon instead of ginger.
It is useful to have some made up at home; use it instead of pepper when you want a richer, more rounded flavour. Try it in wine-based meat stews or add
Bash the nutmeg into small chunks with a rolling pin. Put the pieces in a clean electric coffee grinder with the other spices and whizz to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
© 2008 Christine McFadden. All rights reserved.