Thursday, February 26, 2009

Secret Ingredient

I was recently listening to a broadcast of
The Splendid Table (an excellent APM food show, you must subscribe to this), and the guest was talking about a trick she uses to spice up ho-hum dishes. It was coriander seed, toasted and crushed in a mortar and pestle (or between two dish towels under your smacking wooden spoon). She said it was particularly excellent sprinkled over potatoes, and having a stash of potatoes in my pantry--and half a bottle of coriander seeds lingering in the spice rack I received as a wedding gift three years ago--I thought I'd give it ago

And you know what, she was right! It has this grassy, lemony flavor that is just surprising enough to the palette (mine at least) to be intriguing, but not foreign enough to be off-putting. So, set a dry pan over medium heat and throw the seeds in. Shake them around till they're fragrant and you can see they're starting to turn color. Take them off heat and mash 'em up. Here's what we had for dinner afterward:

Sweet potatoes with feta and coriander
1 small sweet potato for each human you're feeding
1 oz feta, per potato
1-2 tsp toasted, crushed coriander seeds, per potato
Salt, pepper and olive oil

Wash potatoes and prick them all over with a fork. Wrap in plastic and microwave for 5 minutes. (Add 3 minutes for each additional potato). Stop the microwave and turn them over half way. When they're squishy, carefully remove the plastic, cut them in half and mash them a little with a fork, just to get some pockets for the goods. Drizzle a touch of olive oil and top with salt, pepper, and coriander. Sprinkle feta over top.

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