And I can’t tell you how happy that makes me! Between the holidays and a whole slew of work projects I’ve been up to my elbows in pots , pans and props – but I haven’t forgotten you all!
So I thought I’d start off by sharing one of the best things to come out of my kitchen as of late, this Moroccan Citrus, Cauliflower and Barley Salad. Given how many recipes I’ve been working on and shooting that is saying something!
I’ve always loved Moroccan food – and like most of you my first introduction to it was at a moroccan restaurant. A fresh citrus and radish salad, fluffy couscous and Bisteeya…. I was hooked. The artful mixture of spices and fresh ingredients fascinated me… and still does.
While at first glance you wouldn’t consider this a traditional moroccan dish, it definitely has all the components of one – bright citrus, salty olives and crunchy almonds all flavored with a layering of spice that is the hallmark of Moroccan cuisine.
Morocco’s food has it’s roots in Berber cuisine – the native cuisine of North Africa. Given Morocco’s location (bordering both the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans) it’s cuisine has been influenced by a variety of cultures, including the Romans as well as the Arabs, who introduced many of the spices that we associate with Moroccan cuisine. The Arabs also introduced the concept of “sweet and sour” which is characteristic of many moroccan tangine dishes and salads – including this Moroccan Citrus, Cauliflower and Barley Salad.
Now that “citrus” season is in full swing, it’s the perfect time for this salad, when we are all starting to crave those lighter and fresher foods of spring and summer. Sweet oranges, salty olives, meaty cauliflower and crunchy almonds all wrapped in an artful layering of fragrant spices and finished with fresh mint.
What more could you possibly want??
This salad goes wonderfully with a lemon roasted chicken or simply grilled fish. For a vegetarian main, some cooked chickpeas (like the ones from Melissa’s Produce) would be fabulous!