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Desperately Seeking Sumac

Crusted Fish and Rice Pilaf with Asparagus

Crusted Tilapia and Tomato Pilaf with Asparagus

Soon, I will be off on an adventure in a strange land, eating exotic food and exploring things older than my country.

Dramatic, yes! J and I are off to Turkey, and while there I will be taking in all of the new flavours. In fact, I’ve decided to start early. I bought some sumac, which is used in some Turkish dishes, and I’m ready to explore.

What is sumac like? This sounds kind of silly, but it tasted like smokey fire roasted tomatoes and berries. Weird, no? That’s what I thought of while I was eating it. I think it’s also important to be able to smell it, which is why it’s great to top a dish with it. The smell is at the same time intoxicating and bizarre. Seriously, I can’t think of any other spice that is like this. I think I’m in love.

OK, so I don’t know what constitutes “authentic” Turkish cuisine. Most of the dishes I see include some lamb, which I’m not against trying but will not be preparing any time soon. I’m also not quite ready to make a table full of Turkish mezze. I did a little bit of digging, and found this interesting sounding dish consisting of breadcrumb coated fish and a tomato rice pilaf.

Is it Turkish? Not sure. It sounds inspired by Turkish food, at the very least. It also sounds yummy.


Finally! Fresh, in-season, Ontario asparagus!

I added some local fresh asparagus, and was ready to roll! How was it? I really liked the coating on the fish, and had lots left over (wish I had more fish to coat!). I had to cook the fish a little longer than the recipe called for, but in the end it was cooked perfectly. I thought that there was not enough sumac in the dish – the smell and taste of the sumac got a little lost in the breading. I added some extra to the bread crumb mixture, and ended up sprinkling it all over the rice pilaf.

Intrigued? You can find the recipes I used at the links below. I used tilapia instead of flathead, I used pecans instead of walnuts, I think I doubled the sumac in the coating and I cooked the fish a little longer than suggested… but yeah, really great recipes from a site that I think I will have fun exploring. Check it out!

Recipes from What You Having for Your Tea?

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