Sauce au tahina

tahini sauce 2Tahini sauce is a relative newcomer to French cuisine. But the fact that this Mediterranean sauce has been embraced by the French is hardly surprising, given France’s historic links to countries like Lebanon and Syria, where tahini — a paste made of finely ground sesame seeds — has been served for thousands of years. The paste, known as raw tahini, may be found at good food marts and many health-food stores.

The trick to making tahini sauce is knowing how much water to add. This will depend on the density of the raw tahini paste you start out with. You want the final consistency of the sauce to be about the thickness of heavy cream, or perhaps a little thicker if you plan to use it as a dip instead of for drizzling over meat, fish or veggies. So add the water a spoonful at a time, taking care not to overdo it.

3 tbsp. raw tahini
3-6 tbsp. warm water
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 tsp. salt
a dash of ground cumin
fresh herbs: cilantro, dill, mint

Place the raw tahini in a bowl. Add the warm water a spoonful at a time, stirring to mix each time before adding more. The tahini paste will thin out gradually and take on a lighter color. When you have added 3 tbsp. of warm water, go on to the next step.

Add the lemon juice, garlic, salt and cumin, and stir again. If the sauce is too thick, add more water, a spoonful at a time as before.

When you reach the desired consistency, pour the sauce into a small bowl. Sprinkle on a little more cumin and serve with some fresh herbs on the side. Serves 2-4.

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