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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Moroccan Salads, Part I

Moroccan Salads, Part I
by Victoria Challancin

Salads in Morocco are a culinary marvel. Served raw, sharpened with lemon juice and spices, or cooked into a mysterious exotic mix, these salads always reflect what is seasonal and fresh. Rarely are salads served on their own, but rather they appear on the table either as one large composed dish or on separate plates, always offered with the intention to whet the appetite for what is yet to come, always meant to be shared. The textures and flavors vary from savory to sweet, sharp to smooth, crunchy to puréed and they are usually served at room temperature.

For the last few years I have been lucky enough to take several small groups to Morocco. The following photos are from those trips.

At the home of a dear friend: Medfouna, often called "Berber Pizza," surrounded with small plates of Moroccan salads

Infrequently encountered: Couscous as salad, surrounded by hummus, baba ghanouj, olive paste, and raw tomato salad

Salads served with ground cumin, salt, and olive oil

In the bright sun of Essaouira, a simple salad olives, egg, tomato, and crusty bread with freshly-pressed olive oil

A salad before lunch at a roadside cafe

Occasionally the wonderful citrus mixes with lettuces in modern Moroccan restaurants

Simple, beautiful, composed--with a bit of cooked rice sprinkled with spices

Raw and sharply dressed with lemonA sophisticated salad with a vegetable terrine and balsamic vinegar reduction from Essaouira

Canned tuna and corn find their way into this simple salad
A perfect fruit salad served for breakfast at my favorite riad in the old medina in Fés

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