Sometimes the sauce makes the dish, and when you find a great one, it is worth having different preparations for the different seasons. We are evoking the spirit of tahini (one of our favourite sauces) with this, but making it with almonds in their skins, which brings a great nuttiness. We serve this at Honey & Smoke with peaches in summer, pears in autumn and sweet potatoes in winter. Spring is reserved for green vegetables and they don’t really work with this almond tahini, so we make a special, luxurious pistachio version instead to drizzle over grilled spring greens, dressed with lots of lime juice.
For the almond tahini
100 g / 3 ½ oz whole raw almonds, skins on.
100 g / 3 ½ oz boiling water
1 small clove of garlic, peeled
4 tbsp light vegetable oil (e.g. sunflower or rapeseed)
½ tsp flaky sea salt (plus more to taste)
1 tbsp sherry vinegar (or use red wine vinegar)
80 ml / 2 3/4 fl oz very cold water
For the salad
4 large, slightly firm peaches
3 tbsp olive oil to brush, and a little extra to drizzle
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
juice of ½ lemon
1 handful of fresh mint leaves
To make the almond tahini, pour the boiling water over the almonds and set aside while they cool, for about 20–30 minutes. Drain, discard the water, and place the nuts in a food processor. Blitz to a very fine crumb, then add the garlic clove and continue blitzing as you pour in the vegetable oil. Pulse in the sprinkling of sea salt and the vinegar, and finally add the cold water, continuing to mix until everything is well-combined. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. It may seem a little runny now but the sauce will thicken as it settles. You may even need to add a touch more water and salt to loosen it just before serving.
Halve the endives and peaches, removing the stones from the peaches, then brush all the cut surfaces with olive oil. Place the endives and peaches cut-side down on a clean BBQ rack. Grill for about 3–4 minutes or until nice black griddle-marks have formed. Remove to a plate, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle the lemon juice all over. Spread two spoonfuls of almond tahini on each plate and top with two halves of charred endive and two halves of grilled peach. Add a sprinkling of fresh mint leaves and a drizzle of oil, then serve.
To cook without a BBQ
Use a lightly oiled, preheated griddle pan on your stove top and cook just as you would on the fire.
Recipe reproduced from Honey & Co: Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion 2021.
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