The inspiration for this exotic menu was the July, 2011 issue of Bon Appetit. Bulgarian born chef, Silvena Rowe took a play on American classic, surf and turf and gave it a wonderful Moroccan twist. She combined ground lamb with chopped shrimp to create these whimsical kebabs. I followed her recipe exactly as written and it came out beautifully. She includes fresh chopped cilantro, ground cumin, garlic and grated red onion for a fabulously aromatic kebab that had us all swooning when I brought them in from the grill.
I made her harissa sauce and didn’t care much for it. Harissa is a spicy red pepper sauce or relish made with a variety of red chili peppers, vinegar and spices. The Bon Appetit recipe had a very “raw” taste, so I cooked it for about five minutes in a saute pan. It still tasted too harsh for me, so I added some Greek yogurt and that mellowed it out more to my liking. I also made a different dipping sauce, altogether. I made a creamy yogurt sauce seasoned with the Arabic spice mix Za’atar and cumin. Everyone liked that sauce better. However, when I served the remaining kebabs the following day as an appetizer, the harissa had mellowed out and we liked it much better on day two.
I paired the kebabs with a classic Moroccan side dish, couscous. While shopping at Fresh Market, I found an amazing couscous. The brand is Marrakesh Express, and the version is CousCous Grande, “creamy pearls of pasta”. Instead of the teeny tiny little couscous granules, this was great big pearls of couscous. I thought it complemented the kebabs perfectly.
Fresh Market had beautiful baby carrots, so I decided to make my morphed version of Julia Child’s glazed carrots. I followed her recipe except I added garam masala, an Indian spice mix that includes cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cumin and ground coriander seeds. There are a million variations of garam masala and some people make their own. I prefer to buy a good quality prepared version. It is very aromatic and adds a touch of exotic to whatever you put it on.
For Dessert, I opted for a fabulous, super-easy recipe from the July, 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Magazine. She used store bought pound cake (I know, isn’t it scandalous?!), fresh peaches and whipped cream. When I saw that recipe, I thought, “now here’s a dessert I might be able to make”. My regular readers know I struggle with baking. It’s way too exacting for me. But, store bought cake with fresh fruit? It doesn’t get any easier. The recipe delivered. It was beautiful and delicious. Of course I can never leave well enough alone, so I added a pinch of cinnamon to the peaches. The cinnamon sort of tied it into the whole Moroccan thing.
- Moroccan Surf and Turf – Lamb and Shrimp Kebabs
- Glazed Baby Carrots with Moroccan Spice
- Pearly Couscous with Fresh Oregano
- Pound Cake with Peaches and Cream