Mastic, as seen on Masterchef
It seems that most of Australia has avidly watched the TV prime-time show, Masterchef. We are proud to be the herb and spice suppliers for the show, and find it interesting to see the immediate consumer response when something unusual is featured on the show. The little-known Greek spice, mastic , for instance. Mastic, or mastiha to the Greeks, is a sap that oozes from the mastic tree in small, translucent drops known as “tears”, as though the tree has been weeping. These tears of resin are the original chewing gum, and the word masticate (to chew) comes from the name of the spice mastic. The flavour and aroma are sweetish and slightly piney, and it brings a velvety texture to sweet dishes such as ice creams and Turkish delight. Modern chefs are using mastic in tomato-based sauces, with fish, poultry, and red meats, in wine sauces, or paired with chocolate, citrus, or berries.
If you bought mastic to make the lamb shank recipe featured on Masterchef, you may also like to try the silky-smooth ice-cream recipe on the back of the pack, or this lovely salad recipe given to us by our mastic suppliers in Greece – I like to add a teaspoon of toasted cumin seed to the beetroot mixture too. It makes a great entrée, summer lunch, or part of a mezze selection.