I often take the easy route. Case in point: not toasting my dried chiles before plopping them into a dish. Especially when there are so many other steps to a recipe, does a little toasting really make a difference in an overall dish? I was curious to find out.
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Toasting (or "dry roasting") spices transforms them, drawing out their aromas and adding a mellow, toasty complexity. You can use toasted spices to finish a curry or other spiced dish, adding a final layer of spice and rounding out the dish in much the same way some brown butter or toasted nuts would. They also add a mellow spiciness to baked goods, pickles, dressings, rubs, marinades, sauces, compound butter, or added to your favorite hot beverage.
[Photo: Robyn Lee] This does qualify as breaking news: venerable smoked fish shop Russ and Daughters, long adherents to a "We Don't Toast" policy, have now gotten a toaster to toast your bagels. Good find from The Feed....