Madame Wouezna’s Moroccan carrot & green olive salad

Traditionally in Moroccan cooking, carrots are enjoyed on their own, boiled and flavoured with lots of fresh herbs, cumin, paprika and olive oil. When my mother left Fes in northeastern Morocco for Belgium, right after she married my father and long before I was born, she was introduced to her neighbour, Madame Wouezna, also a Moroccan but from Tangier on the northern coast. Madame Wouezna shared recipes that my mum had never come across, and this is how she learned that, in Tangier, chopped olives are added to the familiar boiled carrot salad from back home. The great thing about most salad recipes is that they are customizable and have endless possibilities. This is my favourite way to enjoy Madame Wouezna’s carrot salad – with pomegranate seeds and ricotta.

 

Serves 6

500g carrots, peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces

3 garlic cloves, unpeeled

3 tablespoons fresh coriander, leaves only

3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, leaves only

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1 teaspoon salt

pinch of cayenne pepper

150g drained pitted green olives, roughly chopped

100g pomegranate seeds (from 1 pomegranate)

200g ricotta cheese

50g toasted flaked almonds

Place the carrots and garlic cloves in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and simmer for 13 minutes or until the carrots are just tender. Make sure that you don’t overcook the carrots – we want to keep them a bit crispy. Drain and rinse under cold water, then drain again.

Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves, then place in a small bowl. Add the coriander, parsley, paprika, cumin, vinegar, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, salt and cayenne pepper and mix until smooth.

Place the cooked carrots, olives and pomegranate seeds in a large serving bowl.

Drop spoonfuls of the ricotta on to the salad and drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds before serving.

 

More modern and traditional Moroccan food in Casablanca by Nargisse Benkabbou 

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