There was a time in my life when I didn't understand tahini. I'd buy a jar to make hummus, and then it would sit, sad in my fridge, until it went rancid and I'd shamefully toss it in the trash.
I felt like the sesame seed paste and I would never figure each other out. But that was before I moved to Italy, where I lamented the loss of precious peanut butter and refused to give in to tooth-achingly sweet Nutella. Whether it was my vulnerability or the many dinner parties thrown by my Israeli classmate, I suddenly saw the light I'd been too blinded by nut butters to see. Soon I was pouring tahini over roasted vegetables and spreading it on toast.
This is my love letter to my new favorite condiment. Tahini, I am sorry it took me so long to let you in, but I'm sure glad I finally did.
Sheela Prakash is a food and wine writer, recipe developer, and the author of Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. Her writing and recipes can be found in numerous online and print publications, including Kitchn, Epicurious, Food52, Serious Eats, Tasting Table, The Splendid Table, Simply Recipes, Culture Cheese Magazine, Clean Plates, and Slow Food USA. She received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, holds Level 2 and Level 3 Awards in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), graduated from New York University's Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and is also a Registered Dietitian.