Thursday, July 24, 2008
Spice of the week: Mixed sesame seeds
I've had several people ask me to talk a little more about spices. I'm trying to not use this blog to shill for my spice business but I have a weekly promotion that I do called "spice of the week". Basically, if you buy five $1.00 bags of spices from me you get the "spice of the week" free. I'm trying to get people to try something unusual or different, usually something that I have been experimenting with recently. I thought it might be good motivation to talk about a different spice, spice blend, salt sugar or anything else on a regular basis.
Sesame seeds seem to be something that people don't use very often. They are pretty inexpensive ($1.00 gets you 2-3 ounces), healthy and very tasty. You can get them in three forms, hulled (white), un-hulled (natural) or black. (You can also buy them toasted but since they go rancid quicker once they're toasted, I suggest that you undertake this very quick and easy process as needed.) I also sell a 50/50 mixture of black and white that I use often because it looks so nice. Aside from breads and an occasional sprinkling on sesame noodles, I find that a lot of people don't know what to do with them. One of my favorite uses for sesame seeds is to encrust things with them. I've done scallops, all kinds of fish, eggplant, mushrooms and meats. Today I'm doing some shrimp.
I thought that it might be interesting to make them sweet and spicy so I dissolved some hot pepper jelly in a small amount of white wine. I dipped each shrimp in the jelly and then into the sesame seeds. I would suggest not using the small shrimp that I did unless you like for this process to take what seems like forever. Cook them quickly in a very hot cast iron skillet. You want to be careful not to overcook them, the sugar in the jelly will give you a nice brown crust in seconds.
I finished them with a little wasabi sauce (wasabi powder, wine and honey). These were good and they were even better cold. Next time i think I might grill them and serve them as a cold appetizer.
Sesame seeds make a nice alternative to breading and they are also great in dips and on salads. Be creative. I'm sure that you can think of many things that can be complimented by their toasty, nutty flavor.