If any of you are at all like me, and I suspect many of you are, there are these personalities, chefs, cookbook authors or food enthusiasts, that you just swear by. To some it's Ina Garten or Bobby Flay, others love Dorie Greenspan, Donna Hay, Jamie Oliver or Curtis Stone. I love every one of those guys. But, as I have mentioned a few times before on these pages, I am always inspired by Ricardo.
Last month, I had the chance to meet Ricardo at a book signing. I did my best not to look like too much of a groupie but I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time I spoke with him! If you've ever watched one of his shows, you know he comes across as this charming, easygoing and all around nice guy. I can now vouch for that, he is genuinely charming and charismatic.
Now, I didn't just want to share this news with you as in "Nanananana, I met Ricardo!", so I decided to share another one of his recipes. Dukka is a mix of fragrant spices and crushed almonds which is typically served as an appetizer with cubes of crusty bread and olive oil in New Zealand restaurants. Since I've never been to New Zealand, I'll take Ricardo's word for it...
I decided to fill small jars with the spice mix, decorate it with ribbons and give it as a gift. This is perfect as a last minute hostess gift or as part of a more elaborate basket of goodies with a bottle of fine olive oil and a crusty baguette. Or you can easily serve this at a party as part of an appetizer tray. Have fun!
Adapted from Ricardo Larrivée via Foodnetwork.ca
2/3 cup whole blanched almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
cayenne pepper, to taste (1 used 1/8 tsp but will use a bit more next time)
In a food processor, grind the almonds coarsely. You can also do this with a mortar and pestle. Transfer the almonds to a small bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and store in an airtight container.
To serve: Transfer the dukka to a serving bowl and serve alongside a small bowl of extra-virgin olive oil and cubes of crusty bread. Dip the bread lightly in the oil, then in the dukka and enjoy!