Mexico.

Black beans, tomato, avocado, roasted peppers, strips of lettuce, cilantro, red onion and scallions dressed with lime juice, cumin, chipotle powder piled high on crispy corn tostadas. Not complete without shreds of Monterrey Jack cheese.

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The ultimate nacho.

Morocco.

Many Middle Eastern countries refer to meatballs or meat loaves as ‘kefta’ or ‘kofta’. In Morocco, where French influences still hold strong, they’re called brochettes. Freshly ground beef brisket brochettes with homemade flatbread and garlic-cucumber yogurt sauce.

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In Arabic literature and lore, meat dishes are labeled the food of the rich and aristocratic. I can see why. These brochettes are decadent and intriguing, fatty and earthy. Sublime with hot fresh flatbread and cool cucumber yogurt sauce.

I can picture myself in colorful and bustling Fez, standing in front of a street vendor’s glowing brazier as he carefully turns the small skewers of meat, irresistably enveloped by the enticing aromas…

Moroccan Brochettes [serves 4-6]

Printable recipe

2 lbs beef or lamb, finely ground

2 onions, grated

5 T finely chopped parsley

1/2 t dried sweet marjoram or oregano

1/4 t ground cumin

1/4 t ground coriander

1/2 t Harissa or Ras el Hanout

salt and black pepper

1/4 t cayenne pepper

Heat grill pan or grill to high heat. If using wooden skewers, soak at least 30 minutes in cold water.

Mix meat with onions, herbs and seasonings, and pound or knead vigorously until very smooth and pasty. Shape small lumps or sausage shapes of the mixture around skewers, set on a plate and let chill for about 20 minutes to set.

When ready to grill, spray pan or grates with spray or brush with olive oil. Place skewers on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until brochettes are cooked through and browned all over, about 10 minutes total. [The time will depend on the shape and thickness of your skewers. Ours were fairly thick, so it took a bit longer.] Serve hot with flatbread and yogurt sauce.

From A Book of Middle Eastern Food — a gift from my awesome uncle!