Friday, October 5, 2007

Syrian Zahtar and Black Lemon Spiced Chicken

I love using new and exotic spices. Whenever I'm in a rut I'll go to World Spice and browse the shelves for something I've never heard of. This time I came across black lemons. They are dried out lemons that have blackened and become rock hard. You can grate them into dishes to add a sweet and sour flavor and deepness. Syrian zahtar is a spice blend consisting of ground sesame seeds, sumac, cumin, coriander, and a little anise. I marinated the chicken in the zahtar, kosher salt, and a little olive oil and then grilled the chicken breast in a grill-pan over medium heat for about 4 minutes each side. In the meantime, I made a sauce by sauteing some organic onions and peppers and deglazing the pan with a little white wine adding raisins and some grated black lemon. On the side I made a simple heirloom potato and roasted garlic salad.

Don't be afraid to try new things and fail. Once in a while I'll try something new and it will go horribly wrong. That's what frozen pizzas are for. However for those times when you have everything going your way, you'll discover new favorites for your repertoire and your pantry will grow beyond your cabinet doors (I consider that a great problem to have).


bookwurmy said...

I love your blog. Will you please, please, please post a recipe for cuban black beans a la Paseo?

Stovetop Traveler said...

Are black lemons very similar to preserved lemons? I've never used the black, but I think I will need to check them out - I'm a sucker for trying anything North African or Middle Eastern.

Alpa said...

Your pictures are beautiful, and it's nice to know that you try out recipes from all over the world. I'm vegetarian, so the only time I've had zatar is in some spinach pies and sprinkled over warm pita bread. We don't have a Spice World in Houston, but I have a Penzey's 3 miles away :)