The weekend before last, I hosted a Moroccan dinner party at my house. I’ll start at the beginning* and share with you the recipes for two appetizers that I made. They were served with crusty bread.
Fava Bean Dip (Bissara)
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 lb. dried split fava beans
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. minced onion
2 c. water, plus more as needed
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground pepper
2 tsp. paprika
salt, to taste
1-2 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted for garnish
Heat 1/4 c. olive oil in a medium saucepan, and saute beans, garlic and onion for ~5 minutes over medium heat – until onion is translucent. Add 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a simmer. Simmer covered for 30 minutes or until beans are tender. Stir occasionally and add a little more water as necessary.
Mix 1/4 c. water with cumin, pepper, and paprika to make a paste. Mix this into the fava beans and stir well. Continue simmering for another 15 minutes until thickened and mashed, stirring regularly. Add more water as needed to keep mixture from sticking to the bottom.
Remove from heat and add salt to taste. Spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and toasted cumin seeds. Serve with french bread or pita.
Adapted from: Moroccan Modern, by Hassan M’Souli
Roasted Peppers and Chickpeas with Herbed Goat Cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
2 sprigs fresh oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
3 Tbsp. olive oil
10 oz. goat cheese
Mash together the above ingredients and form a ball of the herbed cheese.
4 red bell peppers, roasted and cut into strips
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 Tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig fresh oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
Mix the chickpeas with oil, lemon, garlic and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently mix with roasted pepper strips. Place this mixture around the cheese ball. Serve with french bread, crackers or pita.
Adapted from: Arabesque: A taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon – by Claudia Roden
*Stay tuned for 2 more posts on this meal, the main dish tagine, and the desserts!