|Trio of tahini dips|
The theme of cooking farm-fresh produce continues in earnest. I like the idea of making a vegetable dish in an exclusively green palette, then dressing it up with vibrant eye-catching sides, inspired by the summer bounty. The salad recipe comes from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More: green beans with freekeh and Tahini. (Tahini is an oily paste made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds used in North African, Greek, Iranian, Turkish, and Middle Eastern cuisine.)
Freekeh is an ancient whole grain. The word “farik,” meaning rubbed, describes a natural process discovered about 4000 years ago which uses fire to capture the grain at its peak taste and nutrition. I used cracked freekeh which only takes 15 minutes to cook. The key to this salad is getting the freshest beans. The chopped walnuts on top is optional, but you wouldn’t want to leave them out for the crunchy texture they impart.
I made a trio of tahini dips on the side: store-bought tahini paste blended with beets, carrots and parsley in the Vitamix or food processor. Beet tahini is topped with roasted pine nuts; carrot tahini is topped with roasted walnuts and pomegranate seeds; extra parsley garnished the parsley tahini. The array of colors, textures and layers appeal to all the senses.
What better way to serve up tahini dips than pita bread. The pita bread dough was made a few days. I took it out of the fridge, shaped the dough into several tight balls and flattened them into about 6-inch rounds. Then they were slapped onto a blazing hot pizza stone in the oven. After a brief five minutes, the rounds were puffed up and ready. Perfect to be eaten with a colorful selections of tahini dip. The vegetables, tahini dips and pita bread are splendid together on a Middle Eastern lunch table.
|Green beans with freekeh and tahini|
|Beet, parsley and carrot tahini dips|