Moroccan always rings a good bell in my mind, and after meeting Amanda through Sunday Supper and snooping around her recipes, I realized that the mix of dried fruit, the tagines, preserved lemons and spices like cumin are what makes me love this type of food. Titles like lamb and eggplant tajine, zaatar flatbread and sesame honey cookies make me swoon and just shows what a talented cook this girl is.
I like to explore different food cultures. What foodie doesn’t right? In my case my heritage is a lot of Italian and regional, so growing up there were a lot of empanadas, grilled meats with chimichurri and dulce de leche.
When Amanda asked for guest posts, specifying that she needed Moroccan dishes, I jumped at the opportunity. Spices and dried fruits are my middle name, and this carrot, chickpea and dried fruit salad fit the bill perfectly.
It’s the middle of winter here, but most of you who read this blog are under scorching temps, so a salad with pungent flavors was the perfect recipe for today. And anyway, the years have brought us milder winters, making salads a common appearance year round, not just during the warmer seasons. Salad is good for you, and this one is packed with healthy ingredients, it´s nutritious and colorful, the perfect lunch really.
Ever since I made this zucchini mint salad, ribbons are my favorite way to cut some vegetables when I use them raw in salads. Carrots are one of them, and they are not only visually attractive, but they give volume to the plate and I love that. Food is, after all, very visual. Not just for a blog picture, but in real life.
Most salads in general are very easy to adjust to personal taste. My choice here is a marked spice flavor, especially cumin which I love when it´s toasted and ground with a mortar and pestle. And then sliced, toasted almonds clearly change the final result. That crunch and nutty flavor goes extraordinarily well with the dried fruit and vegetables.
Back when I was a kid, chickpeas didn’t come in a can, at least not in this country. They were soaked overnight in cold water and boiled the next day until tender. I like to do it once in a while now, but nothing beats opening a can of already cooked chickpeas for a quick bite.
As it usually happens, I made the salad, took the pictures, ate half for lunch and the rest went into the fridge. It turns out that I particularly like the way the dressing macerates and softens the carrots when left to chill for a few hours. So this is a salad that can be prepared a few hours before. But add the chopped herbs and almonds at the last minute.
MOROCCAN CARROT, CHICKPEA, DRIED FRUIT AND ALMOND SALAD
barely adapted from 101Cookbooks
Makes 4 servings
For the dressing:
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2-3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
For the salad:
- 2 large carrots
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if they´re from a can
- 6 dried apricot halves, sliced
- 4 black dried figs, sliced
- ¼ to 1/3 cup sliced, toasted almonds
- Fresh mint and dill, coarsely torn or left whole
For the dressing:
In a skillet, heat seeds over low heat for 1 or 2 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar or grinder and coarsely grind.
In a jar mix the rest of the dressing ingredients and add the ground seeds. Reserve in the fridge while making the salad.
For the salad:
Peel carrots, and with the vegetable peeler, make long ribbons, letting them fall onto the serving plate. Add chickpeas, a few tablespoons of the dressing and mix lightly with your hands, mounding a bit.
Scatter the dried fruits and herbs on top, drizzle more dressing, add toasted almonds and serve.
I’m so happy to welcome Paula of Vintage Kitchen Notes as a guest blogger today. Paula is one of the uber-talented bloggers I’ve gotten to know through #SundaySupper and a fellow international blogger. Her pictures alone make me want to climb through the screen and into her kitchen. Also, she’s located in Argentina, one of the South American destinations I’m dying to visit, so I guess crawling through the screen might not be such a bad idea? To find more of her great recipes you can connect with Paula on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.