Oh, tahini. A scant few years ago, nobody even knew who you were, other than hummus’ uglier cousin. You couldn’t go to parties alone, unless you were with one of your chaperones like hummus, baba ghanoush, or halva. You were nothing more than a a Middle Eastern paste of sauce made from ground sesame seeds.
Then Yotam Ottolenghi gave you a makeover. Suddenly you were cool, ready to be drizzled onto yogurt, whisked into a sauce, just waiting to add depth to a dish. From tahini martinis (Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!) to creamy tahani and lemon-asparagus soup , tahini is taking center stage in a medley of dishes.
After years of languishing in the darkness, why has tahini emerged into the light only now? “There is little dairy in Middle Eastern cooking, and if you mix tahini with water it becomes dairy-like,” Sarit Packer told the Guardian. Tahini may not technically be a superfood, but it is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and stuffed full of immune system-boosting nutrients.
So mix it into a smoothie. Squirt it into a salad dressing. Dump it into a burger. Or eat it standing in your kitchen with a spoon, in breathless gulps straight from the jar, appreciating this condiment the way it deserves.
Now look at you, Miss Tahini. You’re the star of the show!
Shira Feder is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org