Diva Tasting: Sumac, notes and recipes

ABOUT AMERICAN SUMAC

I went harvesting this week. My first harvest was American Sumac. It’s dry now so I wanted to make sure I stored and used it to its best advantage. It is Middle-Eastern type spice with various uses. Below are some tips and recipes sent to me from a friend who knew I just freshly harvested:

What Is Sumac? Learn How to Use Sumac With Tips

Last updated: Oct 2, 2020 • 4 min read

With a deep red hue and trademark citrusy tartness, sumac is one of the most instantly recognizable spices of the Middle East. Although sumac has yet to become a household ingredient in every American kitchen, this unique and exotic spice has long been lauded around the world for its bold flavor and health-giving properties.

In addition to its rich culinary history, which dates back beyond the Roman empire, the health benefits of this ancient spice were first documented thousands of years ago in Greek medicinal texts, which noted sumac’s antiseptic qualities. Today, this versatile ingredient is used worldwide to enhance and compliment the flavors of everything from hearty grilled meats, to fresh vegetables, to delicate desserts.

4 Ways to Use Sumac

Given its complementary flavor, sumac can be used to enhance a wide variety of dishes. While sumac is most commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking, this versatile spice has wide-reaching culinary potential:

  1. It is a standard ingredient in za’atar, a popular Mediterranean spice blend used to top everything from pita to lamb chops.
  2. It is commonly dusted over a variety of dishes—such as meats, salads, breads, and desserts—as a colorful garnish, and to lend a touch of citrusy acidity.
  3. It can be used as a substitute for lemon juice or vinegar, and has a less pungent, overpowering flavor than its acidic counterparts.
  4. It can be used as part of a meat rub or marinade, to enhance the natural fats with its bright flavors.

Homemade Za’atar Pitas – Pita bread topped with a popular Middle Eastern spice blend composed of sumac, thyme, marjoram, sesame, oregano, and salt.

  1. Sumac-spiced Kabobs – Chicken kabobs marinated in sumac, olive oil, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, and pepper cooked over a grill.
  2. Musakhan – A Palestinian national dish comprised of Taboun bread layered with onions, olive oil, sumac-roasted chicken, slivered almonds, and additional spices.
  3. Sumac Hummus – Traditional chickpea hummus garnished with sumac for an acidic tang.
  4. Cucumber Sumac Salad – Chopped cucumbers, feta, and mint dressed in olive oil, red wine vinegar, sumac, salt, and pepper.
  5. Fattoush Salad – A traditional Lebanese dish of toasted pita, mixed greens tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs tossed in a sumac vinaigrette.
  6. Persian Tahdig with Sumac – A classic Persian rice dish with a crispy bottom, flavored with sumac and turmeric. 
  7. Sumac Lamb Chops – Grilled lamb chops rubbed in za’atar spice and dressed with a cucumber yogurt sauce and sumac.

Naked Apple Tart

In culinary school, I used to make a tart very similar to this one, only it had a crust with enough butter to require a week of working out! Now, I enjoy it naked — without a crust, that is. I prefer the look of this “tart” when it’s baked in a round or oval dish. You can use a similar-size square or rectangle dish, if necessary.

Note that the tart cooks for quite a while, allowing the apples to transform into layers of soft, sweet deliciousness. The top of the tart will start to look burnt, but don’t worry, it’s not. It’s just the result of juice and cinnamon caramelizing onto the apples — oh, so sweet!

Ingredients

Butter-flavored cooking spray (or canola oil or avocado oil spray)

2 large crisp apples (such as Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Pink Lady or Honey Crisp), peeled

3/4 cup 100 percent apple juice (not from concentrate)

2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or substitute unpacked light or dark brown sugar)

2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted (salted will work)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly mist a 10-inch ceramic or glass tart dish with cooking spray.

Cut the apples in half lengthwise and remove the cores. Slice each half lengthwise into very thin slices. Starting from the outer edges of the dish, arrange the apple slices, laying them horizontally, in tightly overlapping circles in the bottom of the dish, until all of the apple slices are used (they will make a rose or flower blossom pattern).

In a small bowl, whisk together the apple juice, sugar, butter and cinnamon until well combined (the sugar and cinnamon will not dissolve completely). Pour half of the apple juice mixture evenly over the apples. Reserve the remaining half.

Bake for 30 minutes. Pour the reserved mixture evenly over the apples. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer, or until the apples are very tender and the glaze has caramelized on the top and around the edges of the tart (it should look almost burnt — dark brown, but not blackened). Cool for 5 minutes, then divide among 4 serving plates or dishes and serve.

Fried Eggs Plantains and Chimichurri Sauce

This power breakfast is loaded with protein, healthy fats, low GI carbs and Flavor.

Course: Breakfast, Servings: 1 person

Author: Christine | Mid-Life Croissant

Ingredients

For the Sauce

½ Cup Packed Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley

½ Cup Packed Fresh Oregano And Mint Leaves

½ Teaspoon Aleppo Pepper

3 Cloves Garlic

4 Scallions Sliced, White Bulb And Light Green Stem Only

1/3 Cup Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar

1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

Salt And Pepper To Taste

For The Plantains

1 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

1/2 of A Ripe Plantain Peeled And Sliced Crosswise

Sumac

Aleppo pepper

For the Eggs

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 eggs

Directions:

For Sauce

  1. Place all the ingredients (parsley thru salt and pepper) into the bowl of your food processor and process until it comes together in a pesto-like consistency.

For Plantains

  1. Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium heat.
  2. Dust plantain slices with sumac and Aleppo pepper.
  3. Fry in coconut oil for one or two minutes each side.
  4. Remove to plate with spatula.

For Eggs

  1. To same skillet, add coconut oil and heat until you see wisps of smoke.
  2. Add eggs.
  3. Fry, without moving them around, until they are cooked through.
  4. Remove to plate and serve with plantains and chimichurri sauce.

Chicken With Sumac

Ingredients

2 pounds Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs And Drumsticks

1 large Lemon, Juiced (about 4 Tablespoons)

4 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Plus More For Serving

1 ½ tablespoons Sumac, Plus More For Serving

4 garlic Cloves, Crushed

½ teaspoon Ground Cumin

½ teaspoon Ground Allspice

¼ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Sea Salt And Ground Black Pepper

1 Large Red Onion (about 1 Pound), Halved And Thinly Sliced

2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts

Naan Or Arabic taboon Bread, For Serving

Coarsely Chopped Fresh Flat Parsley Leaves, For Serving

Directions:

Slash the flesh of each piece of chicken diagonally a few times, around 3/4 inch apart, and then place the meat in a large bowl or plastic container. Add the lemon juice; 3 tablespoons olive oil; 1 1/2 tablespoons sumac; the garlic, cumin, allspice and cinnamon; and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Rub the mixture into the meat. Add the red onion and toss to coat. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate, 1 to 3 hours.

  1. When you are ready to cook the chicken, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Transfer the meat, onion slices and any juices to a baking sheet and roast until the juices run clear when the chicken pieces are pierced at their thickest part, about 40 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, cover the baking sheet tightly in foil and set aside while you prepare the toppings.
  2. In a small skillet, cook the pine nuts in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 2 minutes, then transfer to a paper towel to drain.
  3. To serve, heat the naan or taboon bread in the oven until toasted and warmed and transfer to a platter. Arrange the chicken and red onion on top. Finish with a smattering of pine nuts, sumac and chopped parsley. Drizzle any remaining roasting juices so they soak into the bread, then drizzle with a little more olive oil

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