www.ediblemontereybay.com 37 COOKING WITH TURMERIC Turmeric is having a moment. It’s the “it” ingredient in everything from soups to tonics. But turmeric is appreciated for much more than its peppery taste and the way it turns everything it touches bright yellow. Traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, researchers believe that turmeric has more than 100 therapeutic uses. “It fights inflammation, and it’s one of those herbal things that actually works,” says David Blume, who is growing 150 tons of turmeric this year in greenhouses at Whiskey Hill Farms in Watsonville. “People with arthritis can actually move their hands again after taking turmeric, ulcers go away, heart disease reduces.” Local chefs are trying to work turmeric into more of their dishes, both for health and as an exotic flavor ingredient. “It’s got a great earthy flavor,” says chef and caterer Ella King, who owns Café Ella and Ella’s at the Airport in Watsonville. She likes to use powdered turmeric in a dry rub—combining it with smoked paprika, cinnamon and salt—and sprinkles it over chicken, pork or even firm-fleshed fish like opah or salmon before cooking. She also dusts fried eggs with turmeric before flipping them over, because it adds flavor and color to the golden crispy edges. When using fresh turmeric, she shaves it thinly with a mandolin or a vegetable peeler and adds to oven-roasted vegetables. It can stain fingers and cutting boards, “But it’s not as bad as working with beets,” she adds. RECIPE: See www.ediblemontereybay.com/recipes for a recipe for Grilled Turmeric Chicken Breast with Raisins from Ella King, chef at Café Ella and Ella’s at the Airport in Watsonville.
edible Monterey Bay Winter 2016
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