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FOLLOW A FOODIE: The North African table

Harissa is a spicy condiment used to flavour a wide spectrum of dishes. Photo: 123RF STOCK PHOTO
Harissa is a spicy condiment used to flavour a wide spectrum of dishes. - 123RF STOCK PHOTO

Join Mark DeWolf, SaltWire Network's creative director of food and drink, in our Follow A Foodie newsletter as he follows his taste buds across the East Coast. Subscribe here


I’ve been on a global culinary journey of late. Visits to Mexico, the Middle East and now North Africa have inspired me to challenge myself to renew my interests in some lesser-known cuisines.

To be honest, I’ve always loved the flavours of Morocco and Tunisia. Tagine (both the name of a cooking pot with a conical-shaped lid used for roasting meats and the dish itself) is a favourite fall meal of mine and I could use Tunisian harissa (a blend of peppers and spices) as a spicy substitute for ketchup on just about anything.

In this week’s articles, we dug a little deeper into the flavours of North Africa and discovered dishes that beguile the senses with their fragrant aromas.


Brighten up your table In A Jiffy

GIO Chef Greg Burns uses Moroccan chermoula sauce to add flavour to local produce such as carrots. Julia Webb photo



 - SaltWire Network
GIO Chef Greg Burns uses Moroccan chermoula sauce to add flavour to local produce such as carrots. Julia Webb photo - SaltWire Network

This week on In a Jiffy, I visited Chef Greg Burns of GIO at the Prince George Hotel. We talked about incorporating North African flavours into your diet. Chef Burns recommends chermoula sauce, a bright green sauce made from fresh parsley and a myriad of spices to add colour to a seasonal dinner table. In this edition, we made a simple appetizer featuring grilled local carrots, topped with chermoula, carrot pesto and pine nuts but Burns says you can serve the sauce over any number of locally sourced items including various fish and meats.


Food of the sun

The North African table is rich in colour and flavour. 123RF STOCK PHOTO
 - SaltWire Network
The North African table is rich in colour and flavour. 123RF STOCK PHOTO - SaltWire Network

The North African dinner table is full of fragrant flavours. Despite the cooking traditions of this area of the world not being part of our cultural fabric, incorporating the flavours of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt is relatively simple. The cuisine is reliant on fragrant spices such as cumin, cinnamon, paprika and others along with aromatic herbs such as mint, parsley, and cilantro. Dishes tend to be homey and flavourful, focusing less on heat and more on intense aromas. In my latest column, Food of the sun: North African flavours I was inspired by these traditions to create a menu full of flavour but surprisingly easy to make.


Local beers, African flavours: expand your flavour horizons  

North African Braised Chicken - 123RF Stock Photo
North African Braised Chicken - 123RF Stock Photo

India Pale Ale’s relationship with India is well documented and its affinity to generously, aromatically seasoned food is well known to beer aficionados. The pairings go beyond simply classic Indian cuisine, as many countries include eastern spices in their culinary repertoire. Two such countries are South Africa and Morocco. The cuisine of South Africa is a melange reflecting its German, Dutch, English, indigenous African and Indo-Asian influences. The latter has played a unique role in the evolution of South African cuisine on the world stage. Discover a couple of African inspired beer pairings in my article Local Beers, African Flavours.


See you next week when we'll offer more great food and drink recipes. Until then, keep following your foodie dreams. 

~ Mark DeWolf


Mark DeWolf is a connoisseur of all things food and drink. He's a creative director with SaltWire and local fare is his specialty. Watch Mark whip up seasonal plates in his video series, In a Jiffy, and go deeper with food trends and kitchen challenges weekly.


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