How do you begin to describe the smell of whole cumin and coriander seeds being dry fried? Pungent, sweet, warm, full-bodied, aromatic? And when you grind the freshly roasted seeds, what words would be fit to paint the picture? Maybe just heavenly.
I was looking through my cookery books for some inspiration for tonight’s meal, and came across Moroccan Style Courgette Salad by Sophie Grigson (The Vegetable Bible), and I read the 1st two ingredients – cumin and coriander seeds and my attention was grabbed.
But I then paused as the courgettes are boiled, all-be-it briefly, but they are boiled. For some reason the idea of boiling courgettes has never appealed to me, I shudder at the thought of water-logged courgettes, flavourless, and frankly in my imagination looking positively miserable.
But the flavours of cumin and coriander had worked their wonder, and now I’ve made the dish, I’m chuffed to bits. And no, they are not water-logged, colourless, flavourless or anything negative. They are wonderous – soft, not oily and they absorb the spice mixture superbly.
Moroccan Style Courgette Salad
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1.2 tsp coriander seeds
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 tbls olive oil
- 500g courgettes or summer squash, sliced
- leaves of 4 sprigs of mint, roughly chopped
- 30g pine nuts (toasted)
- A handful of rocket leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dry-fry the cumin and coriander seeds in a small frying pan until they start to brown and their aroma comes through
- When cooled, grind the spices
- Whisk the lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl
- Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil
- add the courgette or summer squash slices , bring back to the boil, and simmer for 1 minute and no longer
- Drain the courgettes/summer squash and rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly
- Toss the courgettes/summer squash in a large bowl with about half the lemon/olive oil mx, the spice mix, half the mint leaves, and all the pine nuts.
- Leave to cool
- When ready to serve, toss the rocket leaves with the remaining lemon and oil mix and add to the courgette/summer squash salad
- Scatter the remaining mint onto the salad and serve
This was enough for 5 of us as part of a dinner, and was served with a cous-cous of chopped herbs, garlic, preserved lemon, chopped almonds and olive oil; a fresh tomato sauce with a touch of chilli and garlic,; warmed pitta bread, humous and some crumbled feta cheese. And a glass of chilled Rose or two ……