This makes a generous cup.
Tahini should be labeled 100% pure sesame; use the paste, not prepared tahini sauce. Like natural peanut butter, tahini paste separates on standing. Stir tahini to incorporate the oil before measuring. You can make the sauce 1 or 2 days ahead and refrigerate it.
2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
3/4 packed cup very small Italian parsley sprigs without stems
1/2 packed cup cilantro sprigs with no thick stems
5 to 8 tablespoons water
1/2 cup tahini paste (not prepared sauce), stirred to blend in oil before measuring
3 to 4 tablespoons strained, fresh squeezed lemon juice
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
1. In a small food processor,
mince the garlic. Add the parsley and chop it by pulsing a few times. Hold the cilantro sprigs together and cut it in 2 or 3 pieces to fit in the food processor; add the cilantro to the processor and chop it. Add one-fourth cup of water. Blend the mixture to a purée (if you have trouble puréeing the garlic and herb mixture, add an additional tablespoon or so of water for extra liquid, or add a spoonful of the tahini paste so there is enough substance to purée).
the tahini paste into a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, the garlic herb purée and salt to taste. Stir to blend well. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon water. The sauce should be thinner than mayonnaise; if it is too thick to pour, gradually stir in more lemon juice or water, depending on how tart you would like the sauce. Taste, and add more salt or lemon juice if desired. Add cayenne pepper to taste, or serve the sauce with cayenne sprinkled on top.
3. The sauce
thickens when refrigerated. Just before serving, if necessary, stir in more water by teaspoons to bring the sauce back to the consistency you like.
Each of 5 servings: