Yesterday, while trying to wake up, I was reading a few of my favourite blogs and as usual my mouth was watering when I read Orangette. I love this blog, the food is invariably gorgeous (and Molly shares my love of banana bread), the writing is honest and personal, and the photography is uncluttered and beautiful, if you don't read it yet you really should start. So, yesterday I read Molly's account of a recipe from Casa Moro and very quickly decided to recreate the meal I had eaten in Moro in August.
Have I mentioned that we went to Moro? Probably not as I was in deep blogging malaise over the summer, completely unable to cook or write, I even wrecked a batch of blueberry muffins that I have made a million times before. In August we had a weekend in London and as part of that weekend we managed a trip to Moro. I had been itching to go since buying Casa Moro a few years ago but somehow none of our rushed trips to London had seen it happen - another oddity that has just occurred to me is that I still haven't bought the first Moro book. Anyway, on a hot August night we found ourselves in the restaurant imagining how great it would be to regularly pop in to eat a few tapas at the long zinc bar instead of having to get our fix in one fell swoop. We were ravenous and guzzled the bread (twice over - oops) and, discussing the meal over dinner last night, both agreed that we would eat everything we had again in a second (although maybe not in one sitting). The flavours were beautifully matched and although we had struggled to finish our main courses we somehow convinced ourselves that ice cream would be a good idea, it was.
That evening in Moro I had wood roasted chicken with pistachio sauce and tabbouleh. Obviously I can't quite manage wood roasted chicken in my flat so basic oven roasting had to suffice but with very little effort I found Moro recipes for both tabbouleh and pistachio sauce in The Observer Food Monthly. I did some shopping, some (a lot) of chopping and stirring and we sat down to a passable, and very tasty, imitation of the meal I had been served two months ago. If you make the sauce don't both trying to chop pistachios in the food processor, it just reduces the outside of the nut to dust while leaving the rest whole, I found a mezzaluna much more useful for this rather long winded task.
85g fine bulgur wheat
400g tomatoes, diced
4 spring onions, finely chopped
3 small bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (use a very sharp knife or mezzaluna so that the herbs don't get bruised)
1 small bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
For the dressing:
1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground allspice
2 tbsp of lemon juice
3 tbsp of olive oil
sea salt and black pepper to taste
According to the recipe with fine bulgur all you have to do is wash it well in a sieve and shake it dry and it will have absorbed enough water for it to swell. If, like me, you can only get medium bulgur, it needs to sit in cold water for 3 minutes to swell before it is put in the sieve.
Mix all of the salad ingredients together and then make the dressing by adding the garlic, salt and spices to the lemon juice so that the flavours disperse properly and then stir in the olive oil. Toss the salad just before you are ready to eat and finally check it for seasoning.
100g shelled unsalted pistachios
2 tbsp of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 dtsp of finely chopped mint
1 dtsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of caster sugar
7 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp of finely grated lemon zest
4 tbsp of water
1 tsp of orange blossom water (optional)
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Finely chop the pistachios by hand or in a food processor. Mix together with the other ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.