Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Good-Tasting Yeast Spread

It's been a while since I have had any Tartex, which is a yeast-based paté-like spread from Europe, popular amongst vegetarians. I doubt very much I could find it around here, though.

I was introduced to it many years ago in my vegan anarchist bakery days*, and I am ridiculously fond of it, although it is hard to find and expensive when you do find it, at least on this continent. I read the list of ingredients and came up with my own version, although it is by no means identical, or even all that close. I'm pretty pleased with it, although I may tweak the recipe a bit more before settling in with a final version. Tartex is made with potato starch, but I didn't have any and didn't feel like adding yet another packet of mysterious white powder to the back of the cupboard, so I used what sounded good to me, and I think it's fine. I'll have to try the potato starch sometime though.

Also, I have to be vague about the quantity of miso that goes into this, as it will depend entirely on the saltiness of the particular miso you are using, and also the level of saltiness you would like the finished spread to have. It should have a bit of a salty-yeasty bite, since the plan is to spread it fairly thinly on bread or crackers, but it can certainly be over-done if you are not careful. Stop adding the miso once you think it is good, but could use a bit more - once it is cool you are not likely to think it needs any more and if in fact it does need more you can always add it later, but once it's in it's in, and that's that. I put in two tablespoons of miso but I bought my miso after careful comparison of several different brands as having half the quantity of salt of most other brands - a significant difference!

Another note; I tried it with garlic and that was good, but be very careful with it if you use it instead of the shallot. It should just get tossed in the oil and stirred around for a minute, and then the chick pea flour should be added at once. The garlic will go bitter if it is let to get too brown.

I should also say that even though I was inspired by thoughts of lighter meals I couldn't describe this as low-calorie particularly, and definitely not low sodium. On the other hand, it's pretty intense and should be used somewhat sparingly.

Makes about 2 cups
20 minutes prep time

Good Tasting Yeast Spread
1 medium shallot
1/4 teaspoon rubbed savory
1/4 teaspoon rubbed basil
1/4 cup sunflower seed oil
1/3 cup chick pea flour
1 cup water
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
3/4 cup good-tasting (nutritional) yeast flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
1 to 2 tablespoons light miso (start with one)
black pepper to taste

Peel the shallot and mince it fairly finely. Heat it in a heavy-bottomed pot with the oil, over medium heat until it begins to sizzle. Cook the shallot, sizzling steadily but not intensely, for about 5 minutes, until it turns golden brown.

Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the chick pea flour. Return the pan to the heat, and continue cooking for another minute or two, until the chick pea flour begins to brown slightly in spots. Stir constantly, and remove the pan from the heat again as soon as this happens. This time, you can turn off the burner.

Stir in the water, a little at a time, until a smooth mixture is obtained. Then, stir in the yeast and tomato paste, again until the mixture is very smooth. Stir in miso, a tablespoon (or less) at a time, taking tiny tastes as you go. When you have achieved a good balance of yeastiness and saltiness, stop adding miso. Add a good grind of black pepper, to taste. Keep in mind it will seem saltier as it cools, so don't over-do it with the miso.

Use this spread with bread or crackers, on its own or as part of a vegetable sandwich. Keep it well sealed in a jar and refrigerated. It should keep for a while, but I confess to not knowing exactly how long.

I was not a vegan, just the anarchist baker part. But the "bosses" were. *Rolls on floor, laughing.*

1 comment:

Joanne said...

I actually really like the taste of nutritional yeast even though I am definitely nowhere near being a vegan. Sounds like a very interesting spread...I will have to try it.