Saturday, February 12, 2011

Taktouka (Moroccan Green Pepper and Tomato Side Dish)

 Growing up my father always had a boat and was an enthusiastic weekend fisherman. Every Friday afternoon my parents would pack me in the car and we'd head to our place on the beach. I grew up eating a lot of fish and seafood in general, and I am happy to have married someone who appreciates this fare as well. We buy and cook fresh seafood at home frequently and would cook it more often if not for our worries over the safety of our kids who also enjoy seafood almost as much as us.

While today’s recipe is not a seafood dish, it is a wonderful Moroccan side dish/salad we enjoy very much with fried fish, especially when prepared by my dear mother-in-law who I miss very much. The recipe that follows is a simple and fast method of preparing the dish. If you don’t like fish, make this as a side dish next time you make a steak or grilled chicken breast. Make sure to have some good bread available to eat with it.


I usually peel my tomatoes with a paring knife, specially for salads, but this is one dish when I use the safer method of dipping tomatoes on boiling water. Boil enough water to cover your tomatoes. Put tomato in bowl and pour boiling water on top. Leave for a few minutes and skin will start breaking. Peel away skin with hands or knife. Cut tomato in half and take away seeds with finger or knife.

About 1 ½ green pepper, chopped
About 2 or 3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
About 1 or 2 Tbsp Cilantro
About 1 or 2 Tbsp Parsley
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Dash Harissa or other hot sauce (optional)

Heat olive oil, add garlic and green peppers. Add about 1 tsp of salt, more or less to taste. Cook covered until green pepper is tender.

Add cilantro and parsley, mix. Add tomato, paprika, cumin, black pepper and hot sauce if using. Taste and adjust for salt. Cook for a few minutes covered, until tomato is well cooked and tender.

Serve as side dish with bread for meat, chicken or fish.

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