Ever since catching that pesky, unwavering travel bug after returning from Eastern Europe and Russia, I’ve been putting together a list of dream travels. The ordering of the list changes on occasion, but Morocco has been the resolute number one since its conception. So, as you can guess, when Cass told me she was officially going to Marrakech, I knew that I had create a recipe that paid an homage to my dream destination.
Having never been to Morocco, I was both intrigued and intimidated by its cuisine’s quintessential dishes during my research. I gawked over succulent lamb and chicken tagines and even wondered where I could find pigeon meat in Seattle for pastilla. Imagination aside, I could only think about how badly I wanted my first taste of these dishes to be truly authentic, surrounded by the colors and patterns of Morocco itself.
Instead of totally emulating a dish, I decided to keep this Moroccan recipe a little closer to home; I wanted to play with Morocco’s incredible flavor combinations, but on a familiar surface of perfectly crispy, goat-cheesy toasts. As a result, three types of Moroccan inspired crostini were born.
For the basics, you’ll need:
- A good, crusty, fresh baguette
- Olive oil, for brushing the slices of bread
- About 5oz of whipped goat cheese (much easier to spread than the log)
- ‘Ras el hanout’ inspired spices; I used a a teaspoon and a half of: cinnamon, coriander, smoked paprika, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne for my mix.
(Makes enough for 6 Crostini of each topping, 18 total)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the bread into 18 slices that are about 1/2″-1/4″ thick, and brush both sides with a bit of olive oil. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, flipping them at the 5 minute mark. Allow the slices to cool on a rack. They may seem under done, but they’ll crispen up after they’re out of the oven. 5 ounces of goat is the perfect amount for 18 crostini. Before serving, gently spread the goat cheese on the toasted bread. Top each crostini with a small heap of the topping.
Fiery, Sweet Harissa Peppers
- 2 red bell peppers, roasted
- ½ cup (about 5) sweet, piquanté peppers (like Peppadew)
- 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp spice mix
- 1 tbsp harissa paste**
For this recipe, I used roasted bell peppers and piquanté peppers that are sold in the grocery store’s olive bar. If you’d rather roast the peppers at home, this a simple but trusted recipe. Cut the peppers in half, and slice into strips that are about 1/4″ wide. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, spice mix and harissa paste and mix everything thoroughly. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
**Recipe note: Depending on the spiciness of your peppers and intensity of your harissa, you may want to adjust how much harissa you add to make the spice milder or more intense.
Coriander & Lemon Olive Tapenade
- ½ ripe lemon
- 1 cup mixed green olives, pitted
- 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp spice mix + 2 tsp of ground coriander
Any medley of olives could do for this recipe, but I suggest not using olives that come marinated in any sort of oil, so as to not mix flavors. Cut one half of a lemon into 1/4″ slices, and cut each slice into fourths. Coarsely chop the olives and combine with the lemon. Add olive oil, lemon juice, spice mix, and an extra two teaspoons of ground coriander. This is a great recipe to make ahead since the flavors really intensify after a few hours of resting in the fridge, but it was delicious freshly prepared as well.
Sweet Orange and Fig
- ¼ cup orange marmalade
- ½ cup figs, quartered
Spread about a teaspoon and a half of orange marmalade onto a piece of toast with cheese. Top each crostini with two fig quarters, and garnish with pistachios or something crunchy like pepitas or pomegranate seeds.
We had these with some fresh brewed mint tea in the afternoonand they made for a perfectly satisfying bite. The next day, I made a really tasty roasted red pepper and harissa soup, and had these on the side. The savory spreads keep well, and could be great as sandwich fillings or thrown into a salad. Enjoy!
photography :: meghan klein for coco+kelley recipe :: natasha snowden