Monday, February 14, 2011

French Moroccan Salad

Belgian Endive, Arugula, Dates, Orange, Raisons and an Orange Goats Milk Yogurt Dressing with Pomegranate!
     This is a delicious and refreshing salad.  We had a Moroccan salad on the menu at a small French cafe in Florida.  The chef had previously worked in Africa for a few years.  He said that he created the Moroccan salad to feature some of the flavors and ingredients that are found in Morocco.  His style of presentation for the Moroccan menu salad was to fill a huge bowl with lettuce and to place a few slices of oranges and dates on top.  The chef's salad dressing was a very sweet honey orange mayonnaise based dressing.  The dressing was not very good tasting.  The presentation was very messy too.
     The chef at that cafe was famous for bastardizing every recipe that he got a hold of.  Anyone that knows anything about Moroccan cuisine will say that this chef's salad creation is totally wrong!  Salads are always cooked and served at room temperature in Morocco!  Salads are never made with uncooked vegetables or greens in Morocco.
     I personally liked the idea for the theme of the Moroccan salad, but I did not care for the chef's version of his own creation.  While thinking about his Moroccan salad and what it lacked, I decided to improve the chef's original Moroccan Salad recipe.  The original Moroccan salad was the worst selling item on the cafe menu.  Improving this salad to make it worthy to be posted in my blog did take a little bit of thinking.  A new dressing, add a few more ingredients that are found in Morocco and to create a better composed salad presentation is what I planned to do.
     Adding the word French clearly defines this recipe as being a French interpretation of a Moroccan salad.  Merely calling this salad a Moroccan Salad would have been misleading.  I happen to care about accuracy and authenticity when cooking recipes.  The name of a recipe also has to be correct.
     The Moroccan salad version that I made for this blog turned out to be very nice and it was a successful improvement over the original salad from the old French cafe.  The composed salad presentation is modern.  The goats milk yogurt based dressing has no resemblance to the original Moroccan salad'sorigina dressing.  Sometimes improving on a chef's poorly executed idea is a good way to create a very nice plate of food.
     Orange Goat Milk Yogurt Dressing with Pomegranate:
     Place 1/2 cup of goats milk yogurt into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 pinch of turmeric.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     The dressing should be a medium thin consistency.
     Gently fold in 1/3 cup of fresh pomegranate fruit, so the pomegranate does not become damaged and so the pomegranate juice does not tint the dressing's pale yellow orange color.
     Set the dressing aside.

     French Moroccan Salad:
     Place 1 cup of bite size pieces of belgian endive in a mixing bowl.
     Add 12 to 14  baby arugula leaves.
     Add 1 tablespoon of raisons.
     Add 1/3 cup of sliced celery.
     Add a few long slices of green onion.
     Add 8 small peeled orange wedge supremes.  (Supreme = pith, membrane and seed removed from a section of citrus fruit.)
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Place 4 large Belgian Endive leaves against the rim of a shallow salad bowl.
     Place a small mound of the salad mixture on the center of the salad bowl.
     Generously spoon the Orange Goat Milk Yogurt Dressing with Pomegranate over the salad.
     Place 3 to 4 dates that are cut in half on the salad.
     The dates and raisons add a traditional desert region touch of dried fruit flavors.  The orange is very nice with the peppery flavor of arugula.  The pomegranate fruit gives the pale yellow orange flavored dressing a nice jeweled look.

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