Entertain a small crowd with an indulgent spread layered with the spices of Morocco, including chicken roasted with preserved lemons, salads made with sweet peppers or tomatoes, creamy eggplant smothered in the tart North African marinade charmoula, and more. All of these dishes can be prepared ahead and served cold or at room temperature, perfect for serving as a picnic or a buffet dinner.
- Lemon and Coriander Marinated Olives
- Pita Bread
- Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Green Olives
- Pistachio Sauce
- Eggplant Smothered with Charmoula
- Moroccan Pasta Salad
- Moroccan Tomato Salad
- Moroccan Potato Salad
- Sweet Pepper Salad
- Pomegranate Meringue Rose Tart
- Moroccan Mint Tea
Traditional preserved lemons, called hamad mraquade in Moroccan, have a mellow, edible rind-but take a month to pickle. To get a similar flavor in only a week, check out our recipe for preserved lemons. For more tricks to help you in the preparation of these dishes, see our article Moroccan techniques.
The small amount of cornstarch in the pie's topping will help stabilize the meringue and keep it from weeping. See more meringue tips »
If you like spice, you may want to prepare a batch of harissa, the North African chile paste, to have on the table as a condiment. See our recipe for harissa or, if you're short on time, many grocery stores sell jarred varieties (our favorite brand incorporates preserved lemons).
RECIPE: Eggplant with Charmoula Marinade
Charmoula, a Moroccan spice blend, is best known as a tart marinade for fish. Here, its fresh taste is a perfect complement to the warm creaminess of eggplant. This dish should be prepared ahead, to give the eggplant time to absorb the charmoula.
2 medium eggplants, about 1 ½ lbs.
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp. sweet paprika
Pinch hot paprika
¾ tsp. ground cumin
3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
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1. Slice eggplant into 3⁄4" rounds and sprinkle lightly on both sides with salt. Place in a colander, cover with a cloth, and weigh down the slices with a heavy pot or cans for 30 minutes, until the eggplant exudes its bitter juices.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°. To make charmoula, whisk together garlic, paprikas, cumin, half of the cilantro and parsley, lemon juice, 2 tbsp. of the olive oil, and salt to taste in a small bowl; set aside.
3. Pat eggplant slices dry with paper towels and lightly brush each slice with olive oil. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until tender and golden, about 25-30 minutes. This will prevent eggplant from absorbing too much oil during frying. Remove eggplant from oven and set aside to cool completely.
4. Heat remaining olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add slices one by one to hot oil and fry until crisp and brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels and transfer eggplant slices to a shallow dish.
5. Whisk charmoula once more and drizzle over eggplant. Sprinkle remaining cilantro and parsley on top. Let stand 1 hour, then serve at room temperature.
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RECIPE: Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Green Olives
The chicken in this simple but exotic dish from Yacout is so moist and succulent that its flesh can easily be lifted from the bones and eaten, Moroccan-style, with the fingers.
SERVES 4 - 8
5 cloves garlic, peeled Salt
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground ginger
Pinch saffron threads
Freshly ground black pepper
2 (2 ½-lb.) chickens, quartered
2 chicken livers
3 medium onions, grated and drained
12 oz. Moroccan green olives, Pitted
1 Preserved Lemon, rinsed and completely quartered
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1. Crush garlic on a cutting board with flat side of a chef's knife. Sprinkle with about 2 tsp. salt, then finely chop garlic and crush again to form a smooth paste. Combine garlic paste, parsley, cilantro, cumin, ginger, saffron, and pepper in a large bowl. Add chicken quarters and livers, stirring well to coat with herbs and spices. Cover bowl and set aside to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or 4 hours in the refrigerator.
2. Place chicken quarters and livers in a large heavy-bottomed casserole. Add onions and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep chicken moist.
3. Remove chicken livers and mash to a paste with a fork, adding a bit of cooking liquid if necessary. Return livers to casserole and cook for another 20 minutes or until chicken is tender and thigh meat comes away from bone.
4. Add olives and lemon quarters to casserole and cook, uncovered, for another 10 minutes.
5. Remove chicken, olives, and lemon quarters from casserole with a slotted spoon and place on a platter; set aside, cover, and keep warm. Bring pan juices to a high boil and cook until a very thick sauce forms, about 15 minutes. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.
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