No not just because of the beautiful colour....
The sumac bush is native to the Middle East and produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into powder. Ground sumac has a tangy lemony flavour, although less tart than lemon juice. The spice was long used in Europe to add tartness to many dishes until the Romans introduced lemons to the area. Sumac is a widely used, essential spice in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It's used in everything from dry rubs, marinades, and dressing, but its best use is sprinkled over food before serving. It's great over vegetables, grilled lamb, chicken and fish. Ground sumac also makes a nice, flavourful topping on dips like hummus.
I first came across the spice in my favourite cookbook “Jerusalem” from Ottolenghi/Tamimi (you can buy a signed copy here ). I found ground sumac here locally at Middle Eastern markets or already mixed in the spice mix called za’tar, a Middle Eastern spice blend. Za'tar is great mixed in good quality olive oil, spread on pita bread (pop it into the oven for a couple of minutes) or sprinkled over yoghurt, mixed with some olive oil for a terrific dip.
All you need for the spice blend in the following:
Trading spices might be part of my Dutch heritage, but here in B.C. I have learned to appreciate good organic food. Consider Nice n Spice a marriage of the two. This is the place to find my thoughts, recipes and product information. I'll be nice but who knows, there might be some spice as well!