Tag Archives: tahini

Tahini


2008_11_4-tahiniTahini is an essential for the fridge. It lifts the most basic of foods into a rich meal whilst retaining healthy qualities. Tahini is a paste made from grinding sesame seeds and has a high protein content. A  little tweaking turns it into a stunning dressing for steamed vegetables, brown rice and salads. It comes in a light and dark version. Both of which have an amazing depth of flavour.  To learn how to make this sauce see Tahini Dressing.

From the web

“Sesame seeds are very beneficial for you because they are rich in quality vitamins and minerals. They are very good sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and riboflavin”.

Also see Hummus.

Crispy Fish Fillet with Tahini Sauce

This is a meal that once you have done it you will keep using it. It’s got a nice Mediterranean feel to it as well as an interesting twist with the tahini sauce.  A recipe like this can be used as inspiration. Don’t get put off with what ingredients you don’t have, fish and tahini is the magic combination here, the rest of the ingredients just keep lifting it up.

Ingredients(serves 4)

4 fillets of white fish, trimmed and boned skin on (eg sea-bream, snapper, sea bass, salmon or cod)
2 oven roasted red peppers
1 aubergine
2 courgettes
2 lemons for garnish
Olive or sunflower oil for griddling

Tahini sauce ingredients

5 cloves (half a bulb) of garlic
125g tahini
Juice of a whole lemon
1tbsp (15ml) tamari
50-100ml water

Method

For the roast red peppers see Side Dishes.

Cut the aubergines into discs and the courgette into 1cm thick slices. Put a cast iron griddle pan onto a high flame, lightly oil the courgette and aubergine and sear either side so the lines of the pan are prominent on the vegetables. Aubergines take longer than courgettes.  When cooked, squeeze lemon juice over and season.  Place onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, ready for re-heating in the oven.

To make the tahini sauce the first thing you need to do is roast the half bulb of garlic in a hot oven for 8-10 minutes.  You can use raw garlic but when garlic is roasted the taste is subtler and works better with fish.Put the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and tamari into a bowl. Take a small whisk and bring the ingredients together.  The mix will become very thick at this point, you will need to slowly add the water until you get the right consistency.  We are looking for a single cream type pouring consistency.  For this dish, the sauce needs to be fairly thick as it will sit on the plate with the fish and the vegetables (if you were using this as a salad dressing, the sauce would be of a thinner consistency).

Buy the fish filleted and pin-boned, if possible.  If you do find any protruding bones then remove with pliers or tweezers.  To stop the fillet curling in the pan, pinch it on either side and score small incisions just below the skin, being careful not to cut too deep.

To cook the fish you will need a good non-stick frying pan.  Brush the pan and the skin of the fish with oil (sunflower oil works well as it has a higher heating point).  Lay the fish skin side down into the hot pan giving the pan a good shake until the fish starts to cook, this prevents the skin sticking and peeling off.  Don´t turn the fish until the skin is really crispy approximately 8 minutes cooking time.  When the skin is crispy turn the fillets over and turn off the heat.

To serve;

Whilst the fish is cooking lay out the four plates, distribute and arrange the courgette, red pepper and aubergine in the middle and pour the tahini sauce around them.  Then sit your fish on top of the vegetables and serve with a wedge of lemon.

Courgette, Mint & Feta Fritters with Cherry Tomato Salsa

Fritters are normally a deep-fried thing.  Mine  are very shallow fried for colour then finished in the oven. They are a bit like crepes in so much as it takes one or two to find your flow. This works well as a light lunch, a starter or a vegetarian option.  The main ingredients are courgettes and feta so don’t worry if you miss out on the cumin or the capers it will still taste great.

I tried to work this recipe without flour but they were just too delicate so I have added a spoonful of spelt flour which binds it and gives it strength.  You can use any flour. I don’t cook with flour very often but I always have a bag of white spelt flour in my cupboard for the occasions that it is called for.

Ingredients

500g grated courgette
100g feta cheese
8g mint leaves (20 leaves)
1 egg
1 tablespoon of tahini
1 tablespoon of spelt flour (or any other alternative flour will do)
1 tablespoon of capers
1 teaspoon of cumin
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of lemon

Method

Squeeze the water out of the grated courgette – you can either use a tea towel by putting the grated courgette into the middle, then gathering it into a ball and twisting until the water comes through.  You can also use your hands, be thorough with this otherwise the excess water thins down the mix.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.  Put the grated courgette in a bowl, crumble in the feta then add the rest of the  ingredients. Mix well with a spatula. You should have a thick, moist mix.

Put your non stick frying pan onto a medium to high heat. Let the pan get hot then brush the surface with oil, just enough to prevent sticking. Always do a tester first, just so you know how it will behave. With a dessert spoon drop the mix onto the oil. Don’t mess with it too much as it takes a minute to set. Loosen the edge with a egg slice then flip, it needs to be a golden brown colour. When the other side is done put it onto a baking tray lined with oven paper. Wipe the frying pan with kitchen paper and start again until you have made four. You can prepare these in advance.

Put the baking tray in the preheated oven and bake for 8 minutes. Leave for 5 mins to cool off a bit before serving.

Cherry Tomato Salsa Ingredients

1 small packet of cherry tomatoes (any variation will do, the redder the better)
1 spring onion (a shallot will do)
1 red chili (de-seeded)
Squeeze of lime or lemon
Squeeze of orange
2 dessertspoons of olive oil
10g corinader

Method

Quarter the cherry tomatoes into a bowl. Finely chop the spring onion and the de-seeded chili. Add to the tomatoes with lemon, orange juice and olive oil. The orange juice is not for its taste or sweetness it’s to counteract the sharpness of the lemon, this enables you to use less salt. Sir well then add salt and pepper to taste. Ideally this can be made well in advance as it gives the flavors time to permeate.

Hummus

If you are going to have one dip nailed and down in your repertoire then let it be hummus.  There are a lot of different dips out there but hummus without a doubt is King.  It´s good for a week in the fridge so don’t worry if it seems like a lot when you make it, keep it in covered in the fridge for ‘snack attacks.’  Raw vegetables, rice crackers anything like that with hummus fills the hole in a low fat and healthy way. It also works  well as an accompaniment with lamb, chicken, boiled egg and salads.The main ingredient in this dish is tahini (sesame paste) – readily available in UK supermarkets and health food shops – so don’t scrimp on it.  Here I use 125ml, you could get away with 100ml, any less and the hummus will not taste right.  It seems like a lot to use, but tahini is the money shot ingredient.Hummus is a double dose of protein from the chick peas and the sesame paste as well being of high fibre content.

Ingredients

250g cooked chickpeas (soaked and cooked or from a tin)
Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
125ml (half a cup) tahini
80ml (third of a cup) olive oil
175ml (1 cup) of water
Three large pinches of Maldon sea salt

Method

Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender, until smooth  (you can use a stick blender if you don’t have a Magi-mix type blender).  You may need to add more water – as there are so many different sizes and types of chick pea, its hard to quantify, just add water bit by bit.  You are looking for a smooth consistency and not too thick.  Taste for seasoning.

Place into a serving bowl, pour a little olive oil over before serving.