I think of cumin and coriander as ying and yang, two different but intertwined spices. The one brings out the best in the other. This is what makes the North African chermoula so very irresistible. Here, the addition of fresh herbs ensures that this spicy, zesty sauce raises the humble potato to new heights. More to the point, I thought of this potato dish as a North African cousin to the Spanish patatas bravas.
Renkon (lotus root) is an amazingly versatile and underappreciated root vegetable. It’ll add texture and unmistakable crunchiness to any dish. Its round, perforated, and rigid structure also offers a number of interesting architectural possibilities in your dishes (e.g. grill or tempura the renkon, stack them on one another and fill the holes with a thick emulsion).
History connects the eastern coast of Iberia with the lands of the Ottoman empire. There are many links: not only were parts of Spain for centuries under the rule of eastern caliphates who had links with the Ottomans, but the Sephardic Jews went into exile in Ottoman lands, taking with them the cuisine of Iberia. Here, a typical Catalan dish, escalivada, combines with the Ottoman penchant for yoghourt. Binding them, of course, are the scent and the colour of saffron.
As Jamie and I become ever more ambitious about the number of people we can squeeze around my table and the number of dishes we can create, it’s good to have a few easy favourites. This is a salad we like to make when we have friends over. It’s quick, simple and should hopefully impress. The sticky, sweet pomegranate molasses contrasts with the creamy goats cheese to make a fresh, zesty salad.