Persian-Style Nut Rub

Persian-Style Nut Rub

Here is a variation on the zaatar spice mixture that is used in the Middle East for a variety of culinary purposes. This version, like those of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, features ground nuts. I've left out the sumac (a sour, earthy-tasting spice that is quite difficult to find in the U.S.) and have substituted fresh herbs for the dried thyme usually used in Middle Eastern versions. I like the fresh herbs with nuts.

This rub is great for coating grilled fish or chicken; it creates a nice seared crust with a unique nutty flavor.

1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup ground pistachios
2 tablespoons ground almonds
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon ground allspice
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Using a nonstick sauté pan, roast the sesame seeds, pistachios, and almonds separately over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning, until they are lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes each.

When all the nuts are roasted, combine them with the remaining ingredients and, using a coffee grinder or blender, process until fine, about the consistency of coarse meal. Makes about 1 cup.

From: Big Flavors of the Hot Sun by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby
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