It’s the strongest spice known to man and most of you have never heard of it.
Really – BUT you may have heard of some of its nicknames:
Or, my personal favorite: Teenager’s Tennis Shoes.
Seriously, it stinks.
It’s official name is Asafeotidae. The name is a merger of words from two languages meaning “Feet” and “Rotting” so it literally means “Rotting Feet”.
But I love cooking with it!
Oh, and never let it get warm! Seriously, NEVER LET IT GET WARM!
Repeat after me…
NEVER LET IT GET WARM!!!
It really is the Limburger cheese of spices.
I keep mine in a plastic bag in a jar in the freezer. Seriously, I do.
BUT, asafoetidae adds such an amazing, savory flavor to anything you add it to that the transformation can almost not be described. Kind of like a scene from “Harry Potter”
A touch of the spice and “Expelliarmus!”
The smell disappears and you are now eating pure gold. Or what I assume gold tastes like.
Meat pie not quite catching your interest?
Spice and “Accio!”
The fans will come running.
Is your paella not up to snuff?
A dash and “Lumos!” – it comes to life!
But, I have to repeat – DO NOT LET ASAFOETIDAE GET WARM!
So I was driving to an event once in which I was going to use a little asafeotidae while cooking so I had it in a cooler in the back – or so I thought. Little did I know that the baggie with the asafoetidae was actually sitting on the back seat of the truck with all of the other spices.
The day grew warm and the interior of the truck started to heat up so I opened the rear windows to let some air in.
The baggie opened and stinking feet powder went flying!
It went everywhere. In my hair, my clothes, the seats, the rugs. EVERYWHERE!
Some even got sucked into the vents and came spraying out.
It was as if someone had taken a giant powder puff and whapped me hard with it.
Eyes streaming and gagging, I rolled down all of the windows and looked for the nearest carwash. Running for the self serve vacuum. I was yellow from head to foot and smelling like turbo-charged kimchee.
I had parked the truck and tossed the attendant the keys when I pulled in but he seemed to have delayed moving the truck while I vacuumed everything that could be legally vacuumed in a public place but that also meant the truck sat unattended for a bit.
In the sun.
On a very hot day…
Jumping into the truck, the attendant started it up and hit a deep whiff of the truck’s interior.
And, immediately started coughing and sneezing.
“What died in here?” he gagged while driving off.
That truck still faintly smelled like that when I sold it two years later.
NOW LET’S DO IT RIGHT!
Lebanese Meat Pies
Red Onion, 1 small
Ground Beef, 1 lb.
Lamb, 1 lb.
Kosher salt, to taste
Long Pepper, to taste
Cinnamon, to taste
Asafoetidae, 1 tablespoon
Red Wine, 2 cups
Lemon, 1 small
Butter, 2 tbps.
- Start by making your favorite pie crust and placing it in a large pie pan.
- Chop the lamb meat and add it to a large frying pan with the beef and butter.
- Brown the meat and add all of the spices and the wine and seethe for ten minutes.
- Slice and chop the onion and add to the pot.
- Place all in the crust.
HERE’S THE SECRET: Just before placing the crust on the pie, slice the lemon and pour the juice over the filling. Also, add pine nuts for variety.
6. After placing the top crust on the pie, brush with egg and bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Serves 8.
copyright Micheal J Hobbs 2017