One of the core tenets of creativity is drawing on a range of influences for wholly new results. This is especially true when it comes to cooking. Creating new flavors comes from combining elements across cuisines. Like No Other — presented by noosa yoghurt — celebrates creative chefs who find inspiration around the world and bring it to life in their food.
Even in the most cosmopolitan cities, honestly and passionately prepared food can be hard to find. When Rose Previte returned to Washington, DC, after a stint in Russia with her journalist husband, she knew she wanted to bring back some of the energy she found in the street foods she fell in love with abroad. Serving everything from beloved Georgian classics like cheesy khachapuri to Japanese octopus fritters, Previte's Compass Rose, a bar and restaurant in the 14th Street corridor, is her love letter to global street food.
Previte grew up surrounded by food. Her mother owned a small restaurant in Ohio and ran a Middle Eastern catering service, while her Sicilian father, a lawyer, found his passion in peddling sausage sandwiches and other Italian fare from a street cart. "Between a Sicilian father who loved to cook and a Lebanese mother who loved to cook, there was no way around it," she said of starting a restaurant.
With chef Sam Molavi in the kitchen, Compass Rose pulls from a global roster of influences. He, too, grew up in a food-obsessed world — his father was a chef in the District, and his mother managing one of its premier gourmet grocers — which leaves him no stranger to innovation in the kitchen. "Focusing on international street food at Compass Rose has broadened my horizons," he said, "seeing different kinds of foods, working with different spices, new cooking techniques — it's been really cool."
For his grilled sardines, Molavi took a Portuguese seaside favorite and brought in some of DC's finest ingredients. "I deboned and filleted the sardines in house, then we marinated them overnight," Molavi said. With spaghetti squash in season, Molavi added local honey and sumac for a sweet-meets-zesty accompaniment.
Molavi then combined noosa's lemon yoghurt with bloomed saffron and tumeric for a bright, fragrant sauce. "The lemon works really well with the saffron and turmeric," he said. "I wouldn't mind using on the menu for something else."
1 Cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon of bloomed saffron in a half cup warm water
Zest and juice of two preserved lemons
1 Tablespoon za'atar
4 Cloves smashed garlic
1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper
1/4 Cup chopped parsley
6 Deboned and cleaned Portuguese sardines
Combine all ingredients together into a shallow dish. Once the sardines are deboned, cleaned, and butterflied, mix them well into the marinade and leave them overnight in the fridge. Just before plating, turn your grill to high and cook the sardines for about a minute on each side.
Honey and Sumac SPagHetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash
1 Tablespoon local honey
1 Tablespoon sumac
1 Minced chives
Salt to taste
First halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Then rub the inside down with salt, pepper and plenty of olive oil. Next, roast the squash flesh side down in a 350-degree oven for about an hour and a half or until soft. Once the squash is cooled, shred it with a fork into long strands. Finally, sauté the squash with a dash of vegetable oil and add the honey, sumac, chives, and salt.
Lemon-Saffron Yoghurt Sauce
1 Eight-ounce container of noosa lemon yoghurt
1 Tablespoon of saffron bloomed in a quarter cup warm water
1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
Salt to taste
Saffron is a pricey spice. By blooming it, you can get the most out of every strand of this rich, vibrant ingredient. Combine bloomed saffron with the lemon noosa yoghurt, then stir in the turmeric and add salt to taste then refrigerate. To plate, place a base of spaghetti squash with the sardine over the top. Dash the lemon saffron yoghurt sauce along the plate and garnish with pickled fruit if desired.