Raleigh old-timers (at least those who have been here the past 10-15 years) may remember the Rathskeller restaurant on Hillsborough St. I was recently reminded of the delicious lemon-tahini dressing from that restaurant, and mentioned it to some of my friends. My friend Deniz (she’s Turkish) described to me how she makes a similar dressing, so I decided to give it a try. Here’s an approximate recipe I ended up with below. Other recipes I found online have various ratios of lemon juice to tahini, most with equal amounts or slightly more lemon juice than tahini. I personally like this ratio with more tahini, though it makes for a pretty thick dressing. Then again, I’ve always been partial to the flavor of sesame – so feel free to play around and find your favorite ratio.
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt, more to taste
1/8 tsp. black pepper
water to desired consistency, 1/2 c. or more
Whisk together everything except water, then gradually add water while whisking. The water not only helps to thin out the dressing to a reasonable drizzling consistency, but it also tones down the tart of the lemon and slightly bitter flavor of the tahini. Serve with a salad or as a vegetable dip.