Last week I had dinner with my father at Tagine Dining Gallery in Hell's Kitchen. I wish I had brought my camera with me. I wanted a picture of the big clay jar filled with short ribs we had that night.
We had a cucumber salad, a dish of roasted eggplant and tomatoes, a lamb tagine, and a short rib tangia (that big jug - relative of the tagine). On the side they served a round of their homemade semolina bread (Kevin wasn't with us, so I had a gluten cheat) and two dipping sauces. One was harissa, which I was familiar with. The other was charmoula, which was a new taste for me.
I was in love with that dip as soon as I ate it. I can only describe it as a light, citrusy, exotic pesto. I could not get enough. I knew I wanted to replicate it at home. I did some research online and came up with my own version.
I used olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, cilantrio, cumin, and paprika. I whirled it around in a food processor and served it over chicken. I'm not quite sure how much parsley I used. I just used this much!
I grilled some boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Now that the weather is warmer, I can open the balcony door and let the copious smoke out. I was only half successful. In fact, I had so much smoke I ended up putting the grill pan out on the balcony until it cleared a bit.
Then I just spread my sauce over my chicken. I think it would have done very well as a marinade had I had the time to marinate chicken that evening.
This is probably the worst food photo I have ever taken. It's even worse than the spaghetti shot in the last blog. No matter how I tried, I couldn't plate it well or get a good angle on it.
Alongside was a tomato, cucumber and chick pea salad dressed with olive oil, vinegar, and fresh mint. I used white balsamic, but red wine vinegar would be awesome (I was out of it).
I'm looking to get over my fear of eggplant and make a version of that appetizer at some point. I have no tagine, but I do have a clay pot which has served as my "tagine" and my "tandoori" at various times.
The best part of this meal is just how easy it is. It's a perfect weeknight dinner and it's very fresh and light.
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 big handful of parsley
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 smaller handful cilantro
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1 Tbl lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Combine all ingredients except for chicken in a food processor and process into a paste.
Lightly season chicken thighs. Grill on a hot grill pan for about 5 minutes per side. Top with charmoula.
Now wasn't that easy?
Tomato, Cucumber, and Chickpea
2 Tbl chopped fresh mint
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbl white balsamic or red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
Few grinds fresh black pepper
2 pints grape tomatoes
2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into chunks
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Mix together mint, oregano, salt, pepper and vinegar. Whisk in the oil. Gently toss tomatoes and cucumbers and serve.