Middle Eastern influence
Sumac, a Middle Eastern spice with a lemony flavor, will likely join garbanzo beans and preserved lemon on menus this spring.
David Colston,of Brooklyn Winery in Brooklyn, N.Y., advocates sprinkling sumac on Tokyo turnips sautéed in sunflower seed oil.
“They have a mild heat but very sweet crunch,” he said of the turnips. “The sumac brings a bright astringent tartness to the turnips and makes them pop in your mouth. Most vegetables pair nicely with this Eastern spice.”
Chop’t Creative Salad Company, a 15-unit fast-casual chain in New York City, will also represent North African flavors. One of its seasonal salads for March and April is the Roasted Moroccan Cobb, containing farro; a mixed roast of carrot, parsnips and cauliflower; romaine and spinach with chermoula vinaigrette.
Chermoula is a North African marinade of olive oil, lemon, and herbs and spices, such as hot peppers, garlic, cumin, parsley and cilantro.
Middle Eastern cuisine has been growing in popularity in the United States for years now, in part, some trend watchers say, because of its continued presence in the news, and also as a logical extension of the popularity of neighboring northern Mediterranean cuisines, such as Italian, Spanish and Greek.