Make Your Own Seafood Seasoning Mixes
It isn't all that difficult to make your own seafood seasoning mixes. You'll find that most of the commercial recipes and most of the recipes that you'll find on the Internet are fairly similar in many respects, often varying mainly according to the amount of hotness or spiciness desired.
Cajun and Creole seafood seasoning for example both rely on roughly equal amounts of black pepper and Cayenne pepper, with some garlic powder added, along with a number of other ingredients. You can start with one of the recipes available on line, stick with that one, or begin to experiment a bit with the ingredients and their ratios to get a combination that best suits your taste, and hopefully the taste of your dinner guests.
Besides Cajun and Creole seafood seasoning mixtures, some of the other common ones are for Blackened fish, and mixes especially designed for use with salmon. A great favorite is Old Bay Seafood Seasoning, which as the name implies is available commercially, but the ingredients are listed and you can make your own. The Old Bay mix comes from the eastern seaboard, along Chesapeake Bay, where it is used both for fish and for crabs, and is very popular.
Think In Terms Of Measures - It's not just the ingredients in the seafood seasoning that counts, but the proportion of each ingredient with respect to the others. Making a good seasoning is in one sense a two step process, where first you find the right ingredients and then experiment with the proportions. Obviously you could go on for months or years, but if you get the ingredients right you're more than halfway there. A measure if Cayenne pepper could be a cup, a teaspoon, an ounce, or however you want to measure it out. A recipe might call for 2 Tbsp of Cayenne pepper and 1 Tbsp salt, which could either be a measure of Cayenne and 1/2 measure of salt or 2 measures of Cayenne and one of salt. If you think in terms of measures, as long as you keep the proportions correct you can make the right amount of seafood seasoning for a meal or for a month,
A basic Cajun seasoning could consist of 1 measure each of Cayenne, garlic powder, black pepper, and dried basil leaves, plus 1/2 measure each of salt, oregano leaves, and white pepper. One measure might be a tablespoon full or a cup, depending on how much seasoning you want to make, but the proportions are there.
A Creole seafood seasoning recipe isn't all that different, but just enough to impart a different taste. Here we have one measure each of onion powder, garlic powder, oregano leaves, and basil, and 1/2 measure each of thyme, black pepper, white pepper, Cayenne pepper, and 2 1/2 measures of sweet paprika. As you might expect, the somewhat generous amount of paprika is going to make the taste quite different than was the case for the Cajun seasoning. Both the Cajun and Creole recipes work well for Blackened fish dishes when a little more than a measure of paprika is added in either case.
Herb And Old Bay Seasoning - If you want a seafood seasoning mix consisting only of herbs, try one measure each of thyme, and oregano, 1/2 measure of sage, and 1/4 measure each of marjoram, basil, parsley flakes and rosemary. The Old Bay recipe is a bit more complex, and the commercial product usually lists the ingredients but keeps the relative amounts a secret. If you want to try to make a batch of Old Bay seasoning for either fish or crab, try these amounts: One measure each of ground black pepper, ground ginger, sweet or smoked paprika, 1/2 measure each of crushed red pepper, ground mace, ground cardamom, and 1/4 measure of ground cinnamon. To this add 4 measures each of bay leaf powder, celery salt, and 2 measures of dried mustard. Depending on what you choose to call a measure, you can make a cup full or a bucket full of this delicious seasoning.
Smoked paprika was mentioned as an option. Many chefs prefer this to sweet paprika. It is a Spanish and Mediterranean spice, where the paprika peppers are dried for several weeks over smoldering oak coals, giving the paprika a distinct smoky flavor. Smoked paprika is available commercially and might be worth a try.