Karin already talked about how awesome Claudia Roden’s cookbook Arabesque is here, so I won’t rehash all the nice things she had to say about it again. Suffice to say we are still enjoying it and cooking from it often.
A coworker of mine had a surplus of lemons, so when she brought a handful of them to work, I thought I’d try my hand at a quick preserved lemon recipe in this cookbook. That turned out fairly well (recipe after the jump), but then I had a jar full of preserved lemons to use in the couple of weeks they were going to last for. I tried a handful of recipes in Roden’s book that called for them, going through about half the jar, and this was my favorite of the bunch. The sweetness of the preserved lemons balances out the saltiness of the green olives well and the whole thing comes together quickly enough to make it on a weeknight.
One note: The preserved lemons need to sit for up to four days before using them, so make sure you plan accordingly!
Jacob’s sister Naomi got him Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon by Claudia Roden for his birthday one year. It’s a beautiful cookbook full of lush photographs, just look at the colors on the cover. Is that a good looking eggplant or what?
Arabesque is divided into three main sections, I bet you can guess what they are. I chose two recipes from the Morocco section to make this time, but I am excited about featuring more recipes from the Turkey and Lebanon sections in the future.
The recipes I selected were Sweet Potato Salad (p52) and Cod Steaks in Tomato Sauce with Ginger and Black Olives (p81). In place of the cod steaks I used monkfish tail because it was cheaper, similar in firmness and looks like some sort of prehistoric sea zombie. When the fish guy described to me what monkfish looks like, I knew I had to eat it.
Who wants cod when you could eat this monster?
Most of the ingredients in Arabesque are easy to find, although many of the recipes call for preserved lemons, which I haven’t been able to find yet. The book has a helpful introduction that walks you through making them, which looks like a very simple process, but takes about a month of pickling-time to accomplish. It’s on my list of things to do.