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North African Shrimp Tagine.

Peel and chop eight ripe plum tomatoes and put them in a saucepan with some olive oil and three or four large cloves of garlic that you’ve either minced or put through a press. Add a generous tablespoon of ground cumin. Let that thicken and bubble over a medium flame for half an hour or so. Add salt and pepper.

Meantime, in a large bowl combine a handful of chopped parsley and another of cilantro, a tablespoon of fresh minced ginger, another of pimenton or paprika, a teaspoon of red chile flakes, a big pinch of saffron (rub it between your palms to break it up into smaller bits). Add the juice from a lemon and about a half cup of olive oil. Stir to combine and then throw in a pound of shrimp and let them marinate while your sauce thickens.

Once your sauce is how you like, divide it and reserve half. Next layer about three or four carrots you’ve peeled and sliced on the diagonal. They go over the half of the sauce still in your pan. Slice one large or two medium red onions and layer the onions over the carrots. Slice four red potatoes and layer them on top of the carrots. Slice a red pepper and a jalapeno very thin and layer them on top of the potatoes. Spoon the reserved sauce over the top and cover. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about thirty minutes.

When the veggies are tender, layer the shrimp on top. Add a layer of salt-cured lemon slices (slice up a lemon, dredge the slices in a salt/sugar mixture and let them chill in a bowl in the fridge while you’re cooking, longer is better but even half an hour works.) Add a generous handful of pitted kalamata or green olives or both. Pour the remaining marinade from the shrimp over the top, cover and give it another ten minutes or so, until the shrimp are pink and piping hot.

Serve with yesterday’s grilled onion focaccia and whatever red you have at hand. You could serve it over a grain, or sop up the pot liquor with the focaccia.

Eat as much as you can, then have the rest for leftovers the next day, even better.

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Namaste.

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