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On Cooking Southern: We’re Dancing in the Streets over Moroccan Food, Southern Style

SOUTHERNISM OF THE WEEK

Like a short dog in tall grass: That feeling of being overwhelmed and a bit surprised by the excellent possibilities that have presented themselves in the current situation and environment.

SIMPLE STREET FOOD, MOROCCAN STYLE

IMG_2349The Old Bride is taking a cue from street-food vendors in Idriss, Morocco – I’m firing up my own version of wood-grilled meatballs and caramelized onions grilled with roasted, sliced tomatoes.

The dish should be served with a side plate of extra-virgin olive oil, olives, pickled veggies, crusty or toasted bread, and tapenade. Share the love over a pot of hot tea infused with crushed mint fresh from the garden.

Top off the meal with fresh-picked oranges and sweet melon, and I guarantee you’ll feel like Sam is playing your song again at Rick’s Café Americain … but with no bad guys in the picture.


TAPENADE

Classic tapenade includes anchovies, but I substituted roasted eggplant. Feel free to add basil or roasted red bell peppers.

IMG_23631 c pitted, mixed brown, green and black olives

1 small clove of garlic, minced

2 T capers

1 T fresh lemon juice

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1/2 c roasted eggplant pulp

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or chopper and puree. Allow to sit at room temperature for an hour to blend. Serve as a spread for bread or as a condiment for the grilled meat “balls.”


MOROCCAN MEATBALLS

These actually are meat strips, but nothing was lost in translation – they are good.

IMG_23621 lb ground beef

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

Lemon juice

Create a rub with the dry ingredients. Form the meat into strips about 1-1/2 by 4 inches. Sprinkle with rub on both sides. Position the strips in a grilling barbecue meat basket that has been oiled with olive oil. Grill over medium-hot coals sprinkled soaked wood chips. Sprinkle lemon juice on well-done meat strips and serve with roasted (caramelized) onions and tomatoes.


ROASTED ONIONS AND TOMATOES

1 Vidalia or sweet Peruvian onion

2 to 3 large Roma tomatoes, sliced thin

Olive oil

1 tsp white granulated sugar

Sprinkle onions with olive oil and sugar, and turn to coat completely. Place onions and tomatoes in a grill pan over medium-hot coals. Use flipper to turn and prevent scorching. Remove from heat when onions are caramelized. Serve as a side dish with the meat strips.


Laurie Triplette is a writer, historian and accredited appraiser of fine arts, dedicated to preserving Southern culture and foodways. Author of the award-winning community family cookbook GIMME SOME SUGAR, DARLIN’, and editor of ZEBRA TALES (Tailgating Recipes from the Ladies of the NFLRA), Triplette is a member of the Association of Food Journalists, Southern Foodways Alliance and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Check out the GIMME SOME SUGAR, DARLIN’ website and follow Laurie’s food adventures on Facebook and Twitter.

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