Tunisian Carrot Salad

The mashed vegetable salads of North Africa have a complex deep flavor that is surprising, considering how easy it is to make them. Spicy harissa, fresh cilantro, lemon juice and caraway seeds add extra dimension to the vegetable puree that is traditionally served as an appetizer, but can equally well be an ideal accompaniment to grilled meat, poultry or fish. Tunisian carrot salad is by far the best of those salads, but squash and zucchini are equally wonderful (see variations).

                                                                                          Adapted from my Mediterranean Hot and Spicy.

PHOTO Anastasios Mentis

Carrot Salad S

Serves 4 (more…)

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Marinated Sardines, Anchovies or Mackerel Fillets

Sardines & bread1 SUse my recipe for marinating the oily fish as a base, adding your favorite herbs or substituting scallions for the garlic. Let the fish ‘cook’ in the marinade for a few hours or overnight, or even better make it a full day in advance.

Sardines SServe on slices of crusty or toasted bread, as part of a meze spread, or take my lead and serve as main course, complementing greens, vegetables, beans or grain dishes – Sardeles Marinates is extremely versatile and easy to pair.

SERVES 4-6
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Grilled Sweet Peppers with Two Dressings

Peppers-GRILLED-SaIn the summer, when we have our vine-ripened ‘Florina’ peppers I simply like to grill them and serve with bread and cheese, or as accompaniment to meat, poultry, or fish. Here is the simplest way to grill and peel long or round peppers.

SERVES 8-10

8-12 long or round sweet peppers, any color

Wash and dry the peppers. Halve them, if they are long or cut them lengthwise into thirds, seed them and discard the stems.

Pepper-cutting-S1

Each pepper should yield 2 or 3 quite flat pieces. (more…)

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Tyrokafteri (feta and pepper spread)

Tyrokafteri Cucumber S croppedAs is the case with taramosalata, eggplant spread and other popular Greek meze, tyrokafteri recipes are abundant; some have garlic and other spices, unnecessary in my humble opinion…

I love the simple combination of flavors created by olive-oil-sautéed peppers which I also use in my Eggplant, Pepper and Parsley Spread. Sautéed peppers and their oil flavor the salty-sour feta in this simple Tyrokafteri that can be made with either red or green sweet peppers. (more…)

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Shakchouka (Eggs poached in Tomato & Chili Sauce)

From my book Mediterranean HOT and SPICY (Broadway) 

Similar to huevos rancheros, shakchouka or chakchuka gets its delicious flavor from the hot and fragrant chilies of the Mediterranean, and of course from vine-ripened summer tomatoes of any kind.

The best shakchouka I’ve tasted was served in a restaurant called Doctor Shakchouka, in Jaffa, Israel. The owner brings the dish to the table in the skillet in which it is cooked, and diners dip big pieces of crusty bread into it, devouring them instantly.

chaktchuka-small
PHOTO BY ANASTASSIOS MENTIS

Serves 6
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Spicy Pickled Octopus

Pickled octopus is one of the most common Greek mezze, served with ouzo in taverns all over the country. In the souks of Tunisia dried octopuses are sold, along with small dried fish, like smelts and tiny shrimps. All these dried sea creatures are soaked in water and added to the fish couscous and other dishes.

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To serve the pickled octopus, drain 1-2 tentacles, slice them and dress with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkling with fresh or dried savory or oregano. You can also add it to potato salad, as we did during the Clean Monday Lunch at the Oxford Symposium, a few years back. (more…)

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