Somehow the Accidental Locavore managed to catch an episode of Jamie Oliver’s 15-Minute Meals the other day. This one had him make a batch of mussels in a Moroccan-inspired sauce. Mussels are so easy to cook and these looked great! This will serve 2.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, run through a garlic press
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 1 small preserved lemon (or ½ if they’re big)
- 1 pinch of saffron (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 pounds mussels (check and discard any broken or open ones*)
In a roasting pan (or casserole that can go on the stove top) over low heat (you’ll probably need to use two burners) add the olive oil, garlic and harissa. Stir to combine.
In a blender or food processor, add the tomatoes, cilantro, lemon, saffron and pepper. Process until pureed. Taste and add salt if needed. Add this to the roasting pan and mix well. Turn the heat to medium-high. When the sauce starts to bubble, add the mussels in a single layer and cover with aluminum foil (pan will be hot, be careful not to burn yourself), or the lid if your pan has one. Cook for 5-7 minutes until all the mussels have opened. Serve with toasted bread to soak up the sauce and enjoy!
My verdict: I’m always thinking I should be making mussels because they’re easy and delicious. These were amazing – simple, and a fabulous combination! Definitely going to be making these again (and again). May even have to buy a deep fryer to start making “frites” to go with them. I make my own preserved lemons, but you can order them online. My favorite harissa had gone bad, so I just used the regular stuff in a tube, but I’ve ordered more of the good one, so the next batch of mussels will be spectacular! Because of all the other strong flavors, I left the saffron out, thinking it might be wasted. This would also be a good sauce to cook fish or shrimp in and serve over couscous.
*When you go to cook mussels, if there are any open ones, tap them on the counter. If they close, they’re fine, if not, toss them. Once they’re cooked, if they’re not open, toss those. Better safe than sorry.
The Accidental Locavore’s Internet friend, Jeff Parker, posted this great sounding lamb recipe a few months ago. Months of bad weather and strange weekend plans kept this from happening until this past weekend, when finally, lamb met rotisserie and, boy, was it good! Don’t be afraid of butterflying anything. It’s super easy to do and sounds terribly impressive when you tell your friends, “Well, first I butterflied this _______,” doesn’t it? Butterflying is just a matter of taking a knife and essentially using it to unroll a piece of meat. I used about a 3-pound boneless leg of lamb (gives you a running start on the butterflying) and it fed 4 people with just enough left over for a big sandwich. Yum! I started with Jeff’s recipe, but since I’m incapable of following directions, made a few changes. This needs to marinate overnight, so plan ahead.
- 3-pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied
- 1/3 cup harissa (use more if your harissa is mild, or your heat tolerance is high)
- 5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup mint, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a small food processor or mini-chopper add the garlic, mint and cilantro. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the harissa and process until you have a chunky paste. Lay the lamb out flat on a work surface. Smear the lamb with most of the harissa paste. Roll it back up and tie it, about every two inches with butcher’s twine. Spread the rest of the harissa on the outside of the lamb. Put in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight.
An hour before you’re ready to cook, remove the lamb from the refrigerator. Remove the lamb from the marinade and toss the bag. Run the rotisserie rod through the lamb and fasten with the end pieces (you know how your rotisserie works). Light the rotisserie part of your grill and attach the rod with the lamb and close the grill cover. Check the lamb after about 30 minutes, it should be 135° for medium-rare. Remove from the heat and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Remove the rotisserie gear, slice, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: I knew I’d be sorry I waited so long to try this, and I was! It’s delicious. I served it with some couscous and a mélange of sautéed summer squash. The only downside was that either our lamb was too small or the grill was too hot. We cooked it for about an hour and it ended up quite well done. However, it was still juicy and tender, just not as pink as I would have liked it. I made a version of Jeff’s yogurt sauce (see below for recipe)and it was a wonderful accompaniment with the meal. If you should be so unfortunate as to not have a grill with a rotisserie (trade it in immediately!), don’t tie up the lamb and just grill it flat, about 15-20 minutes a side.
- 2 cups Greek yogurt (or homemade)
- 2-3 good sized cloves garlic, grated or run through a garlic press
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped
- ¾ cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4” cubes
Add all the ingredients to a small bowl. Stir well to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
In sorting the recipes the Accidental Locavore had on the cloud, this salad sounded like the perfect accompaniment to steak tartare on a very hot evening. Added bonus: our friend Jamila gave us a jar of harissa she made from a family recipe. It’s great, a little chunky, nice and spicy! This feeds 4 as a side dish, is quick to make but needs some marinating time for the flavors to really develop.
Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint
The Accidental Locavore shares this recipe for an easy carrot salad with a spicy kick from harissa. A quck side dish or salad recipe.
- 3/4lb carrots, peeled, trimmed and coarsly grated
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
- 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika (I used hot smoked paprika just for fun)
- 3/4 tablespoons harissa (for a solid kick of heat; adjust yours to taste, and to the heat level of your harissa)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
|In a small sauté pan over medium low heat, cook the garlic, coriander, cumin, paprika, harissa and sugar in the oil until fragrant, about one to two minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Pour over the carrots, add the herbs and mix well. |
|Leave the salad to marinate for an hour at room temperature. Just before serving, add the crumbled feta. Serve and enjoy! |
Notes: You can grate the carrots on a hand-grater on the big holes. It’s slow and carrot bits will be all over the kitchen. I pulled out the food processor with the grater blade and was done in less than a minute, however, cleaning it…The original recipe called for caraway seeds (and cumin seeds) to be ground. I didn’t think I had any caraway seeds so I used ground coriander instead. If you don’t have friends making harissa for you, this is the Locavore’s recent favorite (and not because it comes from Provence): Domaine de Provence Harissa Paste. It’s expensive for a condiment, but worth it!
Verdict: I’ve always preferred raw carrots to cooked ones, so this along with the harissa kick was a hit in my book! I added a little more cumin and harissa than the recipe calls for and since we didn’t have any parsley, tossed in a little more mint. Frank really liked it, once he got over the initial surprise of seeing a plate with carrot salad on it. I’ll definitely make this again.
Quick update: I made this again, this time trying for more of an Asian inspiration. I used Sriracha instead of the harissa, juice of a lime, about 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar and added some chopped cilantro along with the mint, no cheese. It was good, very spicy, so next time I’ll taste before madly squirting in the sriracha.
The Accidental Locavore loves harissa, a spicy North African condiment, usually red, so when I saw this recipe in bon appétit for a green version, I had to try it. I used it to make merguez, but if you’re not into making sausage, use it for lamb or chicken. It would probably work really well on zucchini too. Makes ½ cup and adapted from bon appétit:
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped ( I probably used 1 ½ cups because I love cilantro)
- 1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 jalapeno or serrano chile, seeded
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
Combine all ingredients except salt in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add salt to taste and check seasonings for taste. If it’s too spicy, add more spinach, cilantro and a little more olive oil. Serve and enjoy.