Tuesday, May 4, 2010


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.

Chicken Charmoula

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.


Bellini Valli said...

It's definitely time to roll out the BBQ!!!!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Alas, the grill pan is as close to the BBQ as I can get. If I could only keep it from smokign up my kitchen. Even with the doors open the smoke is everywhere.