I have a friend Beth who I see for one day each year between Christmas and New Years. She works in Asia and comes back to see her parents once a year and that’s when we hang out. I always go out to see her and her parents because I love spending time with them all – She has very wise and interesting parents and spending time with them is always a treat.
Every year we have fabulous meals for both lunch and dinner. This time was no exception. Lunch was this rustic charcuterie platter with a variety of cold cuts and cheese but the star of the show was the Moroccan pickled salad. This was a recipe Beth found of Chef Michael Smith that is actually called “Moroccan pickled veggies with marmalade and mint” but it was served as a wonderful mouth watering salad. The flavours alighted one by one in your mouth going from sweet to spicy to tangy to pickled. Below are the pictures and the salad recipe. I encourage you to try it.
Recipe for the salad above:
Moroccan pickled veggies with marmalade & mint (takes 15 minutes)
For the warm dressing:
- ½ cup (125 ml) of cider vinegar
- ½ cup (125 ml) of orange marmalade
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of ras el hanout or curry powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of cumin seeds or ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of your favourite hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon (2 ml) of salt
For the salad:
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup (250 ml) of dried apricots, sliced
- 2 English cucumbers, cubed
- 1 cup (250 ml) of chopped fresh mint
In a medium pot over medium-high heat, stir together the vinegar, marmalade, ras el hanout, cinnamon, cumin seeds, hot sauce, and salt. Bring the pickling brine to a simmer, allowing the flavours to blend.
Stir in the carrots, onions, and apricots. Bring the mixture back to a simmer for a few moments. Turn off the heat, then stir in the cucumbers. Just before serving, toss in the mint, preserving its intensity. Serve and share.
This salad is excellent served freshly made, but like anything pickled it may rest for an hour or more or even overnight. Its flavours and textures will evolve and intensify as it rests.
I have to say you would think we would then just have a simple dinner but “simple” is not the way when I come to visit. They always outdo themselves with the most flavourful meals and dinner was no exception. Chicken thighs marinated in marmalade and grainy mustard with cabbage cooked to perfection with some sugar and balsamic vinegar olive oil and garlic (I may be wrong on the garlic but it certainly can’t ruin the dish). The chicken was marinated in the marmalade and mustard for an hour or so and then baked at 350-400 until ready. We joked about it being a very marmalade day since it was in the lunch salad as well. (Funny thing is neither Beth nor I are big fans of marmalade but cooking with it gives a whole different texture and taste – mellow and citrus in perfect balance).
For the cabbage – I believe the recipe was to sauté 4 cups of thinly sliced cabbage with 2 tsp of sugar and a shake of balsamic vinegar. Sauté until tender and serve. The chicken with the cabbage and green beans was comfort food with an upscale twist – very yummy!
Once again my favourite thing – sharing great food with wonderful people! It was a great day and I left that evening with a smile on my face thinking it never feels like a whole year between our visits and I look forward to next years time spent all together.