Sunday, September 7, 2014

Chermoula with Roasted Potatoes and Squash

Chermoula with Roasted Potatoes and Squash
Chermoula with Roasted Eggplant 

It has been months since I last posted on my blog, mostly because we had a number of moves and changes.  After living in the home where we raised our 3 boys for 27 years, my Tasting Partner and I decided it was time to remodel the kitchen.  We started last summer, working with an architect, and then of course, ended up remodeling the entire house, which necessitated a move out of the house, and then when the remodel was finished, a move back in.  Once we settled in, I decided due to the drought in SoCal, we ought to redo our front landscaping to a xeriscape with native and succulent plants, which necessitated tearing up the landscape out front and reworking the irrigation, hardscape and plantings.  As a result, I was not cooking much and had little time to blog.

In late August our middle son was married to a marvelous woman, and the food at the reception was fabulous, prepared by her brother, a chef, and his chef friends.  The menu included roasted potato and squash with a chermoula sauce.  It was delicious, and I have been scouring my cookbooks for a similar taste, and I think I found it.  Chermoula is a spicy Moroccan or Tunisian marinade or sauce, usually used to flavor fish, meat or seafood, and goes extremely well with vegetables.  There are many recipes for chermoula and most include garlic, coriander and cilantro.  This recipe is adapted from Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Jerusalem.  In his recipe for chermoula, he used preserved lemons and I substituted lemon juice since I don’t normally have preserved lemons at home.  He also made the chermoula paste from the spices only, but I included the cilantro in the paste/sauce since numerous versions I looked at had the cilantro incorporated there.  Needless to say, his recipe as written is delicious, and the changes I made to it only reflected the taste I was trying to capture.  My tasting partner was thrilled with my attempt and I will be incorporating this savory sauce in our vegetarian/vegan menu.

I have included 2 ways to serve this sauce.  The first is tossed with roasted potatoes and squash and the second is with roasted eggplant.  
recipe after the jump 

Chermoula over roasted potatoes and squash
serves 4 as a side dish

For the Chermoula:

2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp chili flakes (or to taste)
1 bunch of cilantro, leaves and thin stems
2 Tbls fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup of olive oil

Place all ingredients, except for the olive oil, in a food processor and process until the cilantro has broken down and become chunky.  Add olive oil in a steady stream and process until it comes together to form a thick sauce (or, if you prefer, a thin paste).  Set aside while potatoes and vegetables cook.

For the potatoes and vegetables:
1 pound of small new potatoes
1 Tbls salt
2 zucchini, cut lengthwise and then into 1 inch pieces
2 yellow squash, cut lengthwise and then into 1 inch pieces
¼ cup olive oil

Place new potatoes in a sauce pan, cover with water, add 1 Tbls salt and bring to a boil.  Cook until tender, drain and cool.  When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, but still warm, add oil to a frying pan and heat to medium high.  Smash each potato (so the skin breaks and the potato has a flattened look) and place into the hot oil.  Pan fry the potatoes, turning over as they become brown.  Remove from pan to a serving dish or bowl.  Add additional oil if needed and then add the cut zucchini and yellow squash.  Cook until the pieces have browned up and caramelized a bit.  The squashes should still have a crunch to them.  add the squashes to the potatoes and then pour the prepared chermoula over the vegetables and toss to cover.  Serve immediately, though it is also delicious cold.

Eggplant with Chermoula
serves 4 as a small main dish

2 eggplants, trimmed and sliced in half
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 400* F
Using the same chermoula sauce, you can also slice the eggplant in half, score with a knife the flesh in deep crisscross pattern.  Spread chermoula paste/sauce over each eggplant and place on a baking sheet, cut side up.  Roast in oven for about 40 minutes, or until eggplant is completely soft.  Remove from oven, top with a spoonful of the Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of golden raisins.

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