Friday, August 3, 2007

Street Food!

And I'm not talking about greasy deep-fried fair food either. Yesterday I was going to do a couple of things with zucchini and then tell you about them today. The day ran away from me quicker than I expected, but there was one saving grace. The mail truck brought me a piece of treasure.

Street Food by Tom Kime is a true gift to fans of travel. We religiously watch Anthony Bourdain tour the globe, singing the praises of street food, and this book gives us at home the opportunity to recreate some of what we've seen. This book is broken down into five different regions around the world. India and Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Southern Europe, and The Middle East and North Africa. Most of the recipes also have a detailed picture, and the travel essays throughout give you a good idea that this food is as authentic as it can get. There are also menu suggestions and a recipe navigator to help you find something specific. Overall, it's a very well put-together cookbook. None of the recipes seem overly complicated- they are street food after all.

As I was digesting this book I found a recipe for Salatet Kousa, or zucchini salad. A quick scan showed that I had everything I needed at home, except for the parsley, and that was easily remedied while we were out running around. Traditionally served as part of a mezze or as a side for grilled meat or fish, salatet kousa hails from Morocco, and I had to make it. It went quickly. I started with some smaller zucchini fresh from the garden which I cut into small sticks. These were fried in oil on the stove top until golden brown. While the zucchini fried, I combined the dressing ingredients. In no time at all, I had all the zucchini in a bowl and tossed it with the dressing. Then we had to wait. Andy wouldn't be home for a good hour, so I was patient and let the salad blend. Just before serving, a handful of parsley was thrown in.

I opted to make up some basmati rice and serve this up with that. In a word, it was fantastic. The flavor was bright and vibrant, and not really spicy, but full of intense flavor. The acid in the lemon cut through the smokiness of the chili powder and cumin, and the paprika added a depth and sweetness. The parsley would have certainly been missed had I not used it, that added a freshness to the zucchini that just worked perfectly. I can certainly see this dish being part of a mezze with all different flavors and textures, but we honestly enjoyed it by itself. It made a perfect light dinner for Andy and I last night. We had it accompanied by fresh garden vegetables, so it was a completely vegetarian dinner- actually, vegan now that I think about it. The only thing I have with this recipe is the oil- I think 1/4 cup was a bit much for the whole thing, and I think the next time I will just eyeball it to reduce the fat a little bit, but overall, excellent and definitely a repeater.


Michelle said...

Looks good--I'll have to try this one. We love zucchini, especially sauteed until it's brown and carmelized. And I hear you about the parsley. I used to disregard it in a recipe, but I've since found that, many times, it adds that "certain something" that makes the dish lively. Perhaps I can fit this into my meal plans for my crazy, crazy next week. (Of course, I still haven't made my planned dinner from 2 days ago, so take it with a grain of salt!) :-)

Erika said...

Michelle, I've really grown to love parsley. Next year I hope to plant some so I have it at my disposal.

I do think this salad would be fine made several hours in advance and refrigerated. Then I think I'd let it warm to room temperature before serving. We had it at room temp, but the rice was warm and it was just fine that way. We didn't have any leftovers to find out if it reheats at all...