I'm a sour craver, so sumac, the supertangy, brick red Middle Eastern spice, is the seasoning for me. I first tried sumac, a powder made by grinding the dried berries from the bush of the same name, years ago at my sister's house. An exchange student from Azerbaijan was visiting, and one evening she made her family's lamb meatballs, which she served in a broth sprinkled with sumac. The spice had a lemony flavor that really perked up my taste buds. I was hooked. Sumac seemed exotic to me, and I thought it would be hard to find, but then I spotted a big bag of it at the Middle Eastern grocery store near my office and found out I could buy it online, too. Sumac has become a gateway to the cooking of the Middle East for me; now I add it to grilled meats, stews, and salads from that part of the world, and I use it to give dazzle to simple dishes like grilled or boiled vegetables, which I drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sumac and coarse salt. —_Catherine Zilber, Knoxville, Tennessee _

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.