Enlightenment on sumac


Any time you mention sumac you think of poison sumac also known as poison oak. Sumac while related to poison oak is related to the sumac spice. Sumac is the berry from a shrubby little plant growing in the middle east and parts of Italy. The spice looks black, but the berries when fresh are a brick red. You can buy them ground or whole dried berries. The leaves and bark of the plant was used for tanning leather. It is tart rather astringent and has been used as a souring agent. The spice is rather delicious on grilled meats, fish, ligumes, veggies and even rice. If you’d like to try using it, it can be found in any well stocked middle eastern market place.

Middle eastern grilled monkfish with flat bread dip

2 monkfish filet (about 2 pounds)
4 Tablespoons ground sumac
8 Teaspoons toasted sesame seed
8 Tablespoons thyme
2 Teaspoon fine pink himilayan salt
olive oil to coat fish filets

Wash the monkfish filets under cold water. Find and trim off the blue membrain as it’s inedible. Coat monkfish in olive oil and dredge in the remaining spices. Place on grill of a medium heat (it is ready when you hold your hand 1 inch off the grate and count 1 mississippi, 2 mississippi, 3 mississippi, ouch). Allow to cook 5 to 6 minutes per side.

Flat bread dip

1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sumac

whisk together and enjoy with a bread of your choosing.

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