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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mushroom Kofteh with Green Harissa

Vegetarian Herb-Laden Mushroom Kofteh with Green Harissa Sauce 

Mushroom Kofteh with Green Harissa
by Victoria Challancin

In honor of the upcoming tour I will lead to Morocco in April, I thought it was time to give a nod to a Moroccan recipe--or vaguely a Moroccan recipe.  Or a Persian recipe with a Moroccan sauce.  Perhaps I should say a "modern take on two iconic recipes from Iran and Morocco."  I could even just offer this delightful recipe up to you as a modern vegetarian recipe from my imaginary World Cafe.   

These mushroom patties, or kofteh (usually kefteh in Morocco), are a lovely vegetarian riff on the classic grilled meat patties known all over the Middle East, Near East, East Asia,  and North Africa.  Meat kofteh (spellings vary greatly) are generally redolent with garlic and fresh herbs as is this lovely vegetarian version by Chef Hoss Zaré, who features his native Persian cooking and modern interpretations of it in his Flytrap restaurant in San Francisco.  Remaining true to the Persian love of fresh herbs, Zaré offers here a rich, but light, vegetarian version of the classic grilled street food, but pairs it with another riff on a classic recipe, this time harissa, the staple red table sauce in Tunisia and Morocco.

For more information about harissa, click on my article Harissa:  A North African Condiment.  In this post I show you lots of photos of how harissa appears on the tables and in the markets of Morocco, along with a bit of history and my own personal recipe for a more traditional red harissa, which I developed over the years on my many journeys in Morocco--plus with a little help from my lovely friend Latifah.  If you like a bit of spice and kick to your food, you might just find yourself becoming addicted to this lively table condiment, no matter whether it is red or green!

 Mushroom Kofteh with Green Harissa

Cook's Notes:  The original recipe also includes an asparagus pesto, which I am certain would be delicious.  I thought, given the rest of my menu, that it might be gilding the lily, so I simply eliminated it.  Do check it out, though, as it looks tasty!  I used crimini mushrooms rather than a mix as that is what I easily found at the store.

Recipe:  Mushroom Kofteh with Green Harissa
(Adapted from a recipe by Hoss Zaré for Food and Wine Magazine)
Serves 8

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 1/2 pounds assorted wild mushrooms, such as oyster and stemmed shiitake, thinly sliced (8 cups)
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (2 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
Green Harissa (see the following recipe) for serving

In a nonstick skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the mushrooms, season with salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 12 minutes.  Transfer the mushrooms to a work surface and let cool slightly, then coarsely chop.  Transfer the mushrooms to a large bowl.  Add the panko, cheese, parsley, basil, lemon juice and cayenne and season with salt.  Add the eggs and egg whites and knead the mixture to combine.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using lightly moistened hands, form the mushroom mixture into six 1-inch-thick patties and set them on the baking sheet.  Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Preheat a grill pan or a griddle, preferable nonstick, and brush with olive oil.  Brush the kofteh with oil and grill over high heat, turning once, until browned, about 5 minutes.  Return the kofteh to the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until hot throughout.  Serve the kofteh with Green Harissa.

 Mushroom Kofteh with Green Harissa

Recipe:  Green Harissa
(Recipe by Hoss Zaré for Food and Wine Magazine)
Makes 1 cup

1/2 packed cup baby spinach leaves
1/2 packed cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 small jalapeños, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a blender pulse the spinach, parsley, paprika, cumin, cardamom, coriander, jalapeños garlic, lemon zest, orange zest, lemon juice and orange juice until the greens are chopped. With the machine on, add the oil and puree.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Mushroom Kofteh with Green Harissa

For information about the international tours I lead each year (cultural rather than culinary--though with lots of great food!), email me.

Parting Shots:

Paris Tour:  April 13-20, 2014
 I'll be having tea here soon!

Morocco Tour:  April 23-May 8, 2014
 That's a turban-wrapped me on the lead camel, taking this photo in 2013!

©Victoria Challancin.   All Rights Reserved.

Please ask permission before using photos or text.  Thanks!


Eha said...

Oh Vicki ~ what a scrumptious recipe, both the Persian and Moroccan side: I can honestly taste it now and since I have each and every ingredient at home, guess what a couple of friends get to try for lunch tomorrow :) ! Together with reading itineraries of your tours: would so love to be there for both!!!

Victoria Challancin said...

E--I do hope you try it. The vegetarian men in my family gave it a total thumbs up! And I do wish you were coming with me!

Eha said...

Oh Vicki - do not make me feel more sorry for myself than I already do! Just back from lunch - this 'still' looks awfully good, so onto repost!!!

Hotly Spiced said...

This has made me really hungry. I just love the look of this and it looks like the perfect snack and appetiser. I love how vibrantly green your harissa is and I didn't know there was a green variety - I've only made red. Gorgeous! xx

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a wonderful looking vegetarian recipe. I shall save it and the delicious looking harissa sauce for when I have the in laws over :D

Martine @ Chompchomp said...

This looks like a fabulous vego dish for my newly vego husband. Ill just adapt it to be gluten free and then we will both be happy!

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