It’s March in Minnesota and I am sick of winter. Don’t get me wrong I love the snow, the invigorating temperatures and my favorite Irish fisherman’s sweater that was my dad’s till his belly got too big so he bequeathed it to me. But I’m ready for a change. Something that brings to mind heat and sand and is full of exotic feels. In lieu of a sandy vacation, I turn to food. If you really want to get hot and sandy, I suggest you try some dukkah. A deliciously addictive blend of spices, seeds and nuts that has its origin in Egypt.
The word “dukkah” comes from the Arabic word for “to crush” or “to pound” which is fitting since that’s what you do with the ingredients once you have them assembled. Dukkah (pronounced DOO-kah) may be purchased in some gourmet and ethnic markets, but it’s easy to make at home. It’s inspiring as an appetizer with assorted veggies and plain yogurt. It’s a comforting accompaniment to roasted or grilled meat when sprinkled on naan brushed with olive oil. It turns an ordinary hard boiled egg into a savory breakfast delight. Want to change up your Netflix popcorn ritual? Sprinkle some Dukkah on that crunchy corn and settle in for your Friday night lineup. I’ve even gone so far as to use it as a “rimmer” in a killer Bloody Mary. Let your imagination go wild. All you need are these few ingredients and suddenly, March in Minnesota begins it’s slow, eventual thaw.
¼ cup pistachios
1 T pine nuts
1 T sesame seeds
1 t coriander seeds
1 t cumin seeds
1 t kosher salt
½ t freshly ground black peppercorns
Preheat oven to 350. Toast pistachios and pine nuts for 5 minutes. Add sesame, coriander and cumin seeds and toast until nuts are golden brown and spices are fragrant, about 5-10 more minutes. Let cool. Coarsely grind in a food processor or a blender with the salt and pepper. Makes about ¾ cup dukkah.
*substitute ½ t ground cumin for the cumin seeds if you can’t find the seeds and add at the end with the salt and pepper.
*if serving with veggies, be sure to include radishes, green onions, bell peppers and cauliflower in the veggie medley.
(Photos: 101 Cookbooks. Recipe: Bon Appetit magazine.)