Monday, October 19, 2009

A Day in Tunisia (in Little Silver)

By Pat Tanner

My first trip abroad, shortly after I was married, was to Morocco and I have had a special place in my heart for the foods of North Africa ever since. So on October 29 I plan to make the much shorter but still exotic trip down to Sickles Market for special tastings and demonstrations. Special guests, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day, will be members of the Mahjoub family, whose Tunisian estate produces olives, sun-dried tomatoes, harissa, olive oils, and other traditional, authentic condiments. The event, which is free and open to the public, will introduce a new line of specialty food from all around the Mediterranean, Tunisia included.

Shortly after my Moroccan adventure I came across the recipe below in Deborah Madison’s first cookbook and it as been one of my go-to party dishes ever since. It can be made in any season, looks gorgeous in a big glass bowl (you can add black oil-cured olives for contrast), is inexpensive, and can be assembled in a matter of minutes. The carrots are sliced lengthwise into thin, fettucine-like ribbons. Using a swivel-action peeler like Oxo’s makes the job a snap. If you haven’t used orange flower water before, be advised that a little goes a long way. Start with half a teaspoon, taste, and add quarter teaspoons after that.

“The Greens Cookbook” by Deborah Madison, Reed Business Information, 1987

1 pound carrots
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Orange flower water to taste

Peel the carrots and discard the peels. Continuing to use the peeler, scrape the carrots lengthwise, working your way around them, removing strips of carrot about 3/8 in wide. Set them aside in a bowl. Mix together the remaining ingredients. Taste and add more orange flower water if needed. Pour this dressing over the carrots and toss them very lightly with your fingers. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
Makes 4 cups, serving 4 to 6.

Sickles Market is at 1 Harrison Avenue, Little Silver, 732.741.9563,

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