Living in Australia means access to many wondrous things: artisan foods, hidden beaches that make you feel like you’re at the end of the earth… and pubs. Yes, pubs.
Melbourne’s vibrant international community is noticeable in every facet of life, but no more influentially than in our food, and pubs are certainly no exception. It is not at all uncommon to see Thai curries, North African tagines and French braises alongside Aussie classics. Think of today’s post – spicy, crispy baked potato wedges coated in chermoula seasoning – as an homage to this assembly of cultures and flavors.
Chermoula is a Moroccan spice blend that can be prepared wet or dry, and usually contains a mixture of cumin, coriander, sweet paprika, cayenne pepper, dried parsley, garlic and preserved lemon. For this recipe, I’ve opted for a dry mix to keep the potatoes crispy. I recently purchased a chermoula blend from local outlet Gewurzhaus - you can find this mix in spice shops and Middle Eastern stores. Or, try out your supermarket’s Moroccan Spice blends, which are based on the original chermoula.
Boiling the potatoes first, then roasting them, results in fluffy insides and crisp outsides – just what I look for in a wedge. It takes longer, but positively correlates with taste happiness, and is highly recommended. Keep an eye on them during the broiling phase, turning if necessary.
- 4 medium-sized Cream Potatoes (or your favorite waxy potato variety)
- 2 tbsp chermoula seasoning (or "Moroccan blend")
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Wash the potatoes. Cut each in half, then nto 3/4"-thick wedges. Place in a saucepan and pour over enough cold water to cover them. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and simmer rapidly for 6-8 minutes until potatoes are fork tender (but not falling apart). Drain in a colander and let steam dry 2-3 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 200C / 400F, and place a baking sheet in the oven to heat as well. In a bowl, toss the potatoes gently with 1 tbsp of the chermoula seasoning and 2 tbsp of the oil.
- Remove the pre-heated baking sheet from the oven. Arrange the potatoes cut-side down in a single layer. Sprinkle with the remaining seasoning and oil. Roast for 20 minutes on one side.
- Flip the potatoes over, or stand them up on the skin side. Turn on the broiler, and continue roasting an additional 20 minutes, turning if necessary, until golden and crisp.
- Sprinkle with salt, to taste, and serve hot from the oven.
Chermoula is a Moroccan spice blend that can be both wet and dry. The dry spice rub usually includes a mix of sweet paprika, ginger powder, cumin seed, coriander seed, dried parsley, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Dry chermoula seasonings can be found in Middle Eastern markets and spice markets. Many supermarkets sell Moroccan Seasoning, which is a suitable alternative for this dish.
Audio pairing: Bibio, “A tout a l’heure”