Saturday, March 25, 2017

French Moroccan Salad








     A Nice Salad For Warm Weather!
     Today's recipe is a French interpretation of a Moroccan salad.  The French have occupied or defended North Africa many times during the last few centuries.  French cooking influences were adapted by many local North African cuisines and vice versa.   Many local food items and recipes from Mozambique and Morocco to Algiers and Egypt drew the interest of French chefs.  This is especially true for French chefs that sought exotic flavor combinations that could be incorporated into modern health cuisines.  The fusion of these two different cultures resulted in many interesting interpretive recipe creations.
     A French style composed salad made with European lettuce and food items that are found in Moroccan food market will naturally draw the interest of guests.  Peppery Arugula and crisp Belgian Endive create a nice balance of peppery lettuce and refined classic lettuce flavors.  Dates, Black Currants and Orange Suprêmes add a combination of deep dried fruit flavors and light refreshing citrus flavor.  The zesty tasting Orange Goat Milk Yogurt with Pomegranate Fruit ties the flavors of this healthy salad together in a nice way.        

     Black Currant Preparation:
     This recipe yields 1 petite garnish portion.
     Black Currants are Champagne Grape Raisons.  Black Currants are used to make Crème de Cassis liquor and they also flavor some fortified wines.  Black Currants have a deep rich dried fruit flavor that is unlike any other raison.
     Place about 1 tablespoon of Black Currants in a cup.
     Add 1/4 cup of hot water.
     Soak the raisons for about 1 hour, so they soften.
     Drain the water off the Black Currants and set them aside.

     Orange Goat Milk Yogurt with Pomegranate:
     This recipe yields about 1 cup.  (3 portions)
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of Goat Milk Yogurt (Greek Yogurt) in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Whisk the ingredients till blended.
     Step 2:  *Check the consistency.  The dressing should be a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.  If the dressing is too thick, then add just a little more orange juice.
     Step 3:  Add 1/3 cup of fresh pomegranate fruit while gently stirring.
     *The pomegranate fruit has to be whole and no pieces can be crushed, or the pomegranate juice will tint the pale orange color salad dressing!
     Step 4:  Place the Orange Goat Milk Yogurt with Pomegranate in a container.
     Chill in a refrigerator for 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.

     French Moroccan Salad: 
     This recipe yields 1 salad entrée.
     The large outer leaves of Belgian Endive are usually served whole.  The small inner leaves and broken leaves are usually coarsely chopped  and added to a salad green mixture. 
     An Orange Suprême is a wedge shaped whole section that has the pith, membrane and seed removed.  The rind is cut off of the whole orange first.  Then a sharp paring knife is used to cut the orange section free, by using the membrane that separates each wedge as a guide.  Making Citrus Fruit Suprêmes does take a little bit of practice, but it is an easy knife skill to learn. 
     Step 1:  Place 3/4 cup of coarse chopped Belgian Endive in a mixing bowl.  (Bite size pieces.)
     Add 2/3 cup of baby arugula leaves.
     Add 1/3 cup of sliced celery.  (3/16" thick)
     Add 2 tablespoons of long thin bias sliced green onion.
     Step 2:  Add 8 Navel Orange Suprêmes.
     Add the reserved 1 tablespoon of soaked Black Currants.
     Gently toss the ingredients together.
     Set the salad green mixture aside.
     Step 3:  Place 4 large Belgian Endive Leaves against the rim of a shallow salad bowl, so they are evenly spaced and the tips point out from center.
     Mound of the salad green mixture on the center of the salad bowl.
     Spoon a generous portion of the Orange Goat Milk Yogurt with Pomegranate over the salad green mixture.  (1/4 cup to 1/3 cup)
     Place 3 Dates that are cut in half on the salad.

     This healthy salad has French Moroccan flavors that are perfect for a warm spring time day! 

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