Nut Pastes and Butters

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
All dry and fatty nuts can be ground in a mortar or blender into a butter-like paste, with the oil from ruptured cells coating and lubricating the cell fragments and particles of intact cells. One of the most venerable nut pastes is the Middle Eastern tahini, made from ground sesame seeds; it’s used with chickpeas to make hummus, and with eggplant to make baba ghanoush. Throughout the world, nut pastes are added to soups and stews to contribute flavor, richness, and body; almond soups are made in Spain and Turkey, walnut soups in Mexico, coconut soups in Brazil, pecan and peanut soups in the American South.