15 ways with Mediterranean flavors
With just a few ingredients from the eastern side of the sea, you can give familiar dishes––even burgers––an exotic spin
Think yogurt is just sweetened snack cups? The plain full-fat stuff has a beautiful tang and creaminess, and is a revelation as an ingredient.
Get: At any grocery store.
Try: Add a little salt and mint for a sauce for vegetables or grilled meat. Drain so it’s thick and satiny, and you’ve got labneh (make your own, below, or buy at Middle Eastern mar-kets). Mix with olive oil and garlic and toss with pasta, or serve with bread for dunking.
From chef Chris Ainsworth
Makes: 3 cups | Time: 5 min., plus 7 hours to drain
Line a strainer with cheesecloth and spoon in 32 oz. plain whole-milk Greek yogurt. Set over a deep bowl, cover, and chill 7 to 24 hours to drain. Keeps, chilled, up to 1 week.
Get: At gourmet grocery stores, or buy at worldspice.com
Try: Toss with seafood, ground meat, even fruit salad.
Get: In your store’s spice aisle, or at worldspice.com
Try: Sprinkle over roast lamb or chicken, toss in a salad with pita chips, or scatter on hummus.
Get: Look in your store’s spice aisle for Spicely brand, or go to worldspice.com
Try: Mix into meat for burgers or meat loaf, rub on shrimp for the grill, or stir into lentils and pilafs.
Get: In the international aisle at grocery stores, or at savoryspiceshop.com
Try: Drizzle over roasted vegetables or salty cheese such as feta, or use as a last-minute glaze for grilled lamb chops or steak.
Get: At well-stocked grocery stores.
Try: Drizzle chunks with olive oil for an appetizer, pan-brown slices for salads, or grill cubes for kebabs (it keeps its shape when heated).
Get: Look in your store’s spice aisle, or go to worldspice.com—better yet, make your own (below).
Try: Sprinkle over olive oil for a totally addictive bread dunk, toss into green salad with orange slices, or scatter generously over cooked squash or cauliflower.
From chef Matthew Dillon
Makes: 1 cup | Time: 25 min.
Toast 6 tbsp. sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium-low heat until golden, 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl. Toast 1/4 cup coriander seeds and 1 tbsp. cumin seeds in pan until cumin is a shade darker, 2 to 3 minutes; pour into bowl. Let cool. In a spice grinder or mortar, coarsely grind seeds in batches with 1/4 cup roasted, salted pistachios, 2 tbsp. roasted hazelnuts, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/8 tsp. peppercorns. Keeps 1 month.
Get: Not readily available, but super easy to make (below).
Try: Use the same ways as pomegranate molasses.
Recipe: Cider molasses
From chef Matthew Dillon
Makes: 1 cup | Time: 55 min.
Boil 1/2 gallon unfiltered apple cider in a large pot for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil, stirring often, until reduced to1 cup, 5 to 10 minutes (watch closely); it will thicken as it cools. Keeps, chilled, up to 1 month; bring to room temperature to use.
Get: Hard to find, but worth it; buy at worldspice.com , or substitute ground ancho chile.
Try: Use the same ways as Aleppo pepper.
Get: In your supermarket spice aisle, or open a bag of peppermint tea.
Try: Mix with ground meat for kebabs, blend with pomegranate molasses in a vinaigrette, or combine with toasted sesame and sumac for a table seasoning.