As you may have guessed by the silence, it's been a very busy past few weeks chez your favorite spice mistress! Among other things, we hosted our first ever Thanksgiving dinner here in Paris (for 30+ people and it was a success!), had a visit from one of my Philadelphia-based cousins and did a fair bit of travel - namely to Morocco (Marrakesh and Essaouira), Brussels and Lisbon. Given that my previous Morocco experience was limited to a few days in the capital city of Rabat, the weekend that we spent in Marrakesh and Essaouira was a real treat - a true mix of colors, flavors, scents and sounds! All the details are coming in a future post, but rest assured that we stuffed ourselves with pungent tajines, delicious couscous, refreshing salads and lots of mint tea.
Luckily, good Moroccan food (and North African food in general) abounds here in Paris. One of my favorite Moroccan restaurants is the beautiful 404, in the Northern part of the Marais on the Rue des Gravilliers (the street I used to live on!). At this gorgeous restaurant where I love to take out of town guests, they serve a little plate of marinated beets and fava beans as soon as you are seated. I love those beets, seasoned with garlic, coriander, cumin and paprika - all traditional flavors used in Moroccan cuisine. With a pack of vacuum-packed or canned beats (rinsed well and drained first, of course), you can throw this together in a flash and serve it as either as a salad/dish or as a snack with toothpicks, as they do at the 404.
MOROCCAN BEET SALAD
Serves 2-4 as a side dish or snack
2 cups cubed beets (make sure that you rinse and drain the beets before cubing)
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced (or crushed if you don't want any little minced pieces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander or parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1. Mix all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve cold.