A Recipe from THE FOOD OF MOROCCO by Paula Wolfert
This week we’re featuring a recipe from The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert.
The undisputed queen of Mediterranean cooking, Wolfert has been recognized by every major culinary institution and won every food award that matters–including the Julia Child Award, the M.F.K. Fisher Award, the James Beard Award, and the Perigueux Award for Lifetime Achievement. Our own superstar author and chef, Mario Batali, has said of her, “Paula is perhaps the single most influential cook and author among the professional chefs of my generation.”
Now in The Food of Morocco, Wolfert presents THE definitive guide to Moroccan food, drawing on the growing accessibillity of once hard to source ingredients and the increasingly sophisticated contemporary palate. Hundreds of recipes and lavish photography throughout tantalizingly demonstrate Paula’s lifelong and keen commitment to the traditional foodways of Morocco, for a comprehensive cookbook of uncommon scope and authenticity.
We hope you love this recipe as much as we do!
CASA PEPE (PIL PIL)
Casa Pepe was a fun, modest café-restaurant in the small Atlantic town of Asilah, a half-hour drive west from Tangier. In season, the specialty there was delicious angulas, tiny eels cooked in peppery olive oil. We used to go and eat them every Saturday during the season.
Off-season, Pepe served an Andalusian-influenced shrimp dish, pil pil, that soon became very popular along the coast. Whole peeled shrimp are quickly sautéed in a tomato sauce infused with red pepper, cumin, cilantro, and arsley. Pepe used the Moroccan fefla hamra harra, a mildly hot red pepper. I use the robust Basque piment d’Espelette as a substitute. Pil pil is great with rice or slices of soft Moroccan bread.
Serves 4 to 6
1 pound peeled medium-large
shrimp (24 to 36), deveined
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, preferably Moroccan
4 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
¾ teaspoon piment d’Espelette or other mildly hot red pepper
1 tablespoon saffron water
2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1½ tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Rinse the shrimp and wipe dry with paper towels. Leave the shrimp at room temperature so they are not ice-cold when they hit the skillet.
- Crush the cumin seeds, garlic, and coarse salt to a paste in a mortar. Add the piment d’Espelette and saffron water and stir until smooth.
- Put the tomatoes, garlic-spice mixture, and olive oil in a large skillet, set over high heat, and fry for several minutes to develop the flavor. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until they are firm and curled, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the herbs, stir once, and serve immediately.
Paula Wolfert is an expert on Mediterranean food and the author of eight previous cookbooks. Wolfert has won the James Beard award, the Julia Child Award, The M. F. K. Fisher Award, The Tastemaker Award and was a finalist for the Andre Simon Award. Her classic cookbook Couscous and Other Good Food was inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame in 2008. A regular columnist for Food & Wine Magazine, Wolfert lives in Sonoma, California.