Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Salad of Fried Potatoes with a Moroccan influence

I have never been to Morocco, and chances are I never will. To be honest it is quite far down my list of places I would like to see, and although I have eaten several dishes described as “tagine” I often doubt that they have been anywhere nearer to Morocco than I have. So the influence here is my attempt to recreate that feeling, that taste and smell I have in my head of what Morocco is all about. To me it involves a dark mixture of cinnamon and cumin, shot through with the vibrancy of mint and lemon.

It is also late Spring way down here under the world and as usual my soup making has fallen back a bit to be replaced by the salads my body craves at this time of year.

- Begin by boiling some potatoes. I like to leave the skins on and quarter them into biggish bite sized pieces.
- Cook for ten minutes or so until just cooked and a pointed knife will meet just a little resistance in the middle - you don’t want them to fall apart when fried later.
- Meantime take a mixture of salad leaves and put them in a bowl with a couple of thinly sliced spring onions.
- Thinly slice two or three mint leaves, add to the bowl with the juice of half a lemon. Mix it all together gently.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, put some olive oil into a frying pan and leave to heat up.
- Drain the potatoes into a colander and allow to sit and steam dry for a couple of minutes.
- Make a spice mixture up in a bowl ready to add to the potatoes. I used two teaspoons each of ground cinnamon and cumin seeds, along with a teaspoon of fennel seeds and perhaps half a teaspoon each of crushed chilli flakes and turmeric.
- Pop the potatoes into the hot frying and cook on a hottish heat, stirring occasionally until they start to brown.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir in the spice mixture - the spices just need warming through and the last thing you want to do is burn them.
- Add a little salt to the potatoes if they need it.
- Finally make up a dressing from a tablespoon and a half of mayonnaise from a jar with the juice of a lime squeezed in.

Now just put it all together - salad goes into a bowl to make a nest, then a few potatoes go in and a spoonful or two of dressing is dribbled over, with the rest of the bowl put on the table for people to help themselves. Be quick with this though because as soon as the potatoes hit the salad leaves they will begin to wilt and I think the joy of a salad such as this is the contrast between the hot ingredient and the cool crispyness of the lettuce.


(Oh and if there are any left over potatoes mix them with some more mayonnaise to make a salad for lunch tomorrow, you'll be glad you did . . .)

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Jacqueline said...

Mmmmmmm, tasty :)

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