Cooked Moroccan potato, pepper and tomato salad

Here is a decades old recipe, if not centuries, coming straight from my family’s “grimoire”. This cooked salad of potatoes, pepper and tomato salad has a funny name in our family: we call it Drapeau sbalioun or Spanish flag. My grandpa who died when he was 73 around 1997 brought this recipe from Larache, a Northern Moroccan city. 

My aunties told me this is how it all started. My grandma used to add courgettes while my dad used to add small okra and sometimes add some proteins in the form of small pink shrimps, meatballs or spicy sausages to serve it as a main dish.

So the recipe, in its vegetarian/vegan form is usually served as a warm cooked salad or as a side dish to grills or fried fish while enriched with meat or seafood, can be a meal in itself as it has it all.

Drapeau sbalioun, or simply cooked Moroccan potato, pepper and tomato salad

Use the recipe below as a guideline. The vegetables have different sizes around the world but also some like more potatoes than others. Also, this is not meant to be a complicated recipe as the cook is just filling the tables with sides to feed the family, they were not trying to make their lives difficult by measuring each bit of ingredient in it. As long as it has potatoes, peppers and tomatoes and it’s reduced and served warm, that’s all what you need to stick to.

After all these years of searching if there was a similar recipe elsewhere (books, blogs..), I was able to make a link between a recipe of  de Z.Guinaudeau  in her "Fes vu par sa cuisine" and my family recipe. The similarity was striking except for the type of potatoes. The book was written in the 50s. Another famous Moroccan Jewish blogger who passed away in the last couple of years also had a version posted but under a different name.

These findings were comforting considering that I came to think this must have been a family creation until I found it there.


Ingredients
Serves 2
Prep: 5 min - Cooking: 20 min

  • 1 long pointy green pepper, seeded and chopped or cut in small squares.
  • 1 small onion, any type, finely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced 2 cm large
  • 1 pale courgette, diced size as potatoes or a handful of okra (in Morocco they’re small, hence cooked in one piece)
Chermoula
  • 4 tbsps of coriander, chopped
  • 2 tbsps of parsley, chopped
  • 2 gloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tsp of sweet paprika (in powder or paste)
  • 1/2 of ground cumin
  • 4 tbsps of good extra virgin olive oil
Optional vegetables
  • 1 pale courgette, diced the same size as potatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 small handful of okra (don't add it if using courgette)
Optional non-vegetarian addition
  • A handful of pink shrimps, peeled OR some spicy sausages such as merguez




Preparation

Over medium heat, sautée onions and peppers with chermoula about 3 minutes. Top with 1/4 of water and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Add the rest of the vegetables and stir. Add enough water to cover the ingredients. Put the lid on and let simmer away, over low heat until everything cooks to tenderness and the liquid has reduced. If you notice that it has dried a lot in the middle of cooking, top it with a little bit of water so it evaporates near the end of cooking. This cooked salad is not supposed to be a saucy dish when served as a cooked salad or side dish.  

Once cooked. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and serve warm or at room temperature. garnished with chopped parsley leaves.

Note: you can use whole tiny new potatoes instead of the diced ones as they also cook fast and won’t break.


Notes


1- You may use char-grilled peppers for this recipe.
2 You may add a touch of harissa or cayenne for a kick.

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