If you were to travel to Morocco and order a salad in some exotic souk, you’d likely get a melded cooked dish with several different savory components – think eggplant, sautéed greens, seasoned carrots – a North African antipasto. And the dish will likely vary from one restaurant to the next. Our Moroccan Salad combines the classic crisp American salad with the bold, piquant spices of the Berber culture and salty olives, cooling mint, plump couscous and parsley that’s adored throughout the region.
But the spotlight is reserved for our Harissa Shrimp.
Harissa is the North African condiment, bursting with roasted red peppers and an array of spices. I tossed several perfectly cooked wild Georgia shrimp in skillet with a generous helping of Harissa.
The brightness of the dressing along with the depth and heat of the Harissa gives the salad a unique Moroccan identity.
Of course, you can substitute the shrimp for just about any protein you like. Just be sure to add the Harissa sauce to your protein after it has been cooked.
Mint and parsley along with lemon zest are essential to making this recipe work, so be sure to follow the recipe as too much will overpower the salad.
Pause for a moment on that last picture of the shrimp. See how the edges are curled just ever so slightly? When you take a bite of a shrimp like that, you can expect it to be tender and plump. Then when the Harissa hits the middle of your tongue, you’ll feel a slight warmth, then a bit of a tang, ending in a slow, delectable burn. Now imagine some mint, cool couscous and crisp romaine on the same fork. Yeah, I swooned a bit, too.
Falls in love with delicate glass of Maghrebi mint tea
Stir dreams of ferry rides across the Strait of Gibraltar
In the spice chest, you’ll find coriander, parsley, mint and lemon zest
Suggestions and Alternatives:
- For this recipe, you can substitute chopped romaine for mixed greens or even chopped spinach.
- Coat your protein with Harissa after it has been cooked, if you add the Harissa to raw protein and then cook it, you will burn the Harissa Sauce, and your protein will taste scorched.
- Please try and serve the salad as soon as possible, the lemon juice and olive oil will wilt your romaine in about 5 minutes. You want that sweet crunch of chopped romaine lettuce.
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Moroccan Salad [with Harissa Shrimp]
Moroccan Salad [with Harissa Shrimp]
- 2 large seedless English cucumbers diced
- 1 medium carrot shredded
- 2 heads romaine chopped
- 2 Roma tomatoes diced
- 1/4 red onion shaved
- 10 olives pitted
- 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley chopped
- 10 mint leaves torn
- 3 lemons juiced
- 1 lemon zest
- 4 teaspoons coriander ground
- 1 tbs. Kosher salt
- 5 tbs. olive oil extra virgin
- 16 shrimps peeled / de-veined
- 4 tbs. Harissa Sauce
- 1/4 cup Israeli couscous quality
- wash, peel and De-vein 16 fresh shrimp, (save shells and freeze for future stocks).
- wash 2 heads romaine lettuce and fine chop in medium size bowl.
- dice 2 large Roma tomatoes into 1 inch.cubes, and add to bowl.
- peel and shred 1 large carrot using a box grater and add to bowl.
- Using a mandolin, shave 1/4 small red onion and place in ice bath.
- let sit for at least 10 minutes. strain and set aside.
- bring 2 cups salted water to a rapid boil.
- add Israeli couscous and cook for 8 minutes, or until done.
- strain couscous and place on sheet tray, immediately and add 2 tbs. olive oil, coat and cool for 5 minutes in refrigerator.
- chop 1/2 bunch parsley, 10 chopped mint leaves and the zest of 1 lemon.
- add 4 teaspoons ground coriander and chopped mixed olives.
- combine all ingredients and couscous to romaine lettuce. set aside.
- using a medium size saute pan add 2 tbs. olive oil and get pan hot, medium high heat at least 5 minutes.
- once pan starts to smoke add 8 shrimp and cook until the shrimp start to curl, then remove from heat. repeat with remaining shrimp.
- once all shrimp have seared on both sides, remove from heat and add 4 tbs. Harissa sauce. Be sure all shrimps are coated.
- toss salad with 3 tbs. olive oil, add 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt and juice of 2 lemons.
- divide by four and place shrimp around salad, or as you wish.
- serve immediately. If you let this salad sit for more than 5 minutes the lemon juice will wilt the Romaine.