Moroccan Confit of Tomatoes & Peppers with Coriander
Photo: Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous
Adapted from Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France by Joan Nathan
When I embark on a cookbook, it’s like going on a scavenger hunt. One clue leads to another. Sometimes they lead to unexpected findings, such as this wonderful cooked salad of Jewish origins. Someone in Washington had told me that Elisabeth Bourgeois, the chef and owner of Le Mas Tourteron, a restaurant just outside of Gordes in the Luberon, was Jewish.
One Sunday afternoon, a friend and I drove two hours from Saint-Rémy-de- Provence to the charming stone house with old wooden beams and antique furniture where her restaurant is housed. When I explained my quest to Elisabeth, asking her if she was Jewish, she replied, “pas du tout” (not at all.) I thought our journey would be for naught, but since we arrived at lunchtime, we sat down to eat. And what a meal we had! Our first course was a luscious ratatouille–like tomato salad. When I asked Elisabeth for the recipe for this last dish, she said without hesitation, “Ca, c’est la salade juive!” (That is the Jewish salad.) She explained that the recipe came from a Moroccan Jewish woman who worked in her kitchen for about 30 years. Now it is part of her cooking repertoire and mine.
I serve salade juive all year round – using fresh tomatoes in the summer and canned tomatoes the rest of the year. At Passover, I always serve lots of prepared salads. You can make them in advance, they’re light and healthy, and all of the colors make for a beautiful table!
4 pounds peppers, red, green, or yellow (about 8 to 10 depending on the size)
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained or 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes (about 4 to 6, depending on the size)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon hot cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Put the peppers on a hot grill, turning them as they get charred, or put them in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Using tongs transfer the peppers to a plastic bag and seal it. When they are cool, peel them, and remove the seeds and stems.
If using fresh tomatoes, bring a pot of water to a boil. If using fresh tomatoes, bring a pot of water to a boil. Plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water for a minute or two, remove with a slotted spoon, and cool in a bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel off and discard the skin.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Roughly chop the fresh tomatoes or the canned, if using, and peppers, and add them with the wine, coriander seeds, cumin, salt to taste, tomato paste, and chives to the frying pan. Cook slowly, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the hot pepper and the lemon juice and sprinkle with the fresh cilantro. Serve as a salad or appetizer.
Yield: 8 servings or about 4 cups
Recipes: Salad, Fresh Tomatoes, Red Peppers, Moroccan, Parve, Kosher