Tahini: I finally understand

Monday, July 18th, 2011

I had a Damascene conversion regarding tahini tonight. I had never quite seen the point of it before. Whitish paste, sticks your lips to your teeth, slightly bitter, sits untouched in the fridge for years till it goes rancid and is guiltily thrown away…

But no longer! I was in Mrs Flannery’s (a local organic and wholefood shop) a couple of weeks ago, in the mood for randomly trying things, and ended up buying a little take-away container with fairly fresh tahini made from unhulled sesame seeds. It’s quite a dark brown, and it tastes like the sesame-ish equivalent of nut butter. Delicious. It still sticks my lips to my teeth, but that’s ok when there’s a wonderful taste going on at the same time.

I used it tonight to make these grilled aubergines with yoghurt-tahini sauce and herbs, from Food Stories. They were great. Cooking the aubergine slices under the grill means they don’t get to absorb a litre of oil, they end up tender on the inside and golden (but not oily) on the outside, and the cooking is hands-off. We ate the aubergines and sauce over some white quinoa; a good combination as the quinoa adds a bit of body to the dish and soaks up any extra sauce nicely. What would be really spectacular though, I think, would be to add a layer of slow-roasted, garlicky, almost-cooked-to-sauce cherry tomatoes. I’d serve it on a big dish with a base layer of quinoa, topped with the tomatoes, then the aubergine slices, and the yoghurt/tahini sauce spooned over the top. The sweetness and intensity of the tomatoes would kick the whole thing up a final notch.

Anyway: go the unhulled hippy-shop tahini! It is the business.

Comments are closed.