the moroccan trifecta

April 2nd, 2008 · 25 Comments


i read about ‘orangette’s’ brussels shuffle, and the description of her market breakfast was more than i could stand

I should begin by saying this: do not underestimate the combined power of fresh goat cheese, honey, and olives. (Or spicy olives, to be specific, coated in something akin to harissa.) It is the trifecta….

so on a whim, and lured by some unexpected goat cheese gracing my doorstep, green olives were pitted and spiced with harissa, pita bread was gently defrosted in the oven until soft, the crumbled goat cheese was smoothed out by a bit of hot water and then a dark wildflower honey was drizzled on top of that – with complete abandon.

and dear readers, it was good. oh so very very good. so much so, that i have now had this exact dish 3 times in 5 days – and have served it to no less than 10 people. pita was what i had going. and it worked. but the authentic wrapping that would be used to envelop this spectacular tasting trio is called m’semmen, a moroccan pancake of sorts. and sure enough, i came across a recent post written about this very thing. but i don’t bake bread, remember? except i am now somewhat intrigued and might have to consider a m’semmen clause written into the ‘no bread baking’ contract that i have with myself.

but not today…

Tags: cheese · sandwich

25 responses so far ↓

  • 1 mari // Apr 3, 2008 at 2:18 am

    when i read orangette’s post, i was ready to hop on the train to Bruxelles right that minute (it’s only a 2h40m train ride from A’dam), but now i don’t have to!

  • 2 Diana // Apr 3, 2008 at 5:04 am

    Mmmm, great shot. I’ll have to give harissa a try…

  • 3 Donald // Apr 3, 2008 at 5:23 am

    Now all you need is some tomato basil soup to cap that off.

    But in my current mood, I’d be tempted to add some crumbled bacon!

  • 4 Robert // Apr 3, 2008 at 5:36 am


    Please dont tell my grandkids. They are satisfied with grilled cheese sammiches. Keeping this recipe for ME.

  • 5 lucy // Apr 3, 2008 at 5:58 am

    just when i thought i’d moved on…you’ve gone and made it look tasty all over again.
    i’ll have to get on that…

  • 6 Mary Coleman // Apr 3, 2008 at 6:05 am

    simply amazing.

  • 7 Lesley // Apr 3, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Soooo delicious. It’s the ingredients!

    I’m determined to find a suitable bread at one of the many bakeries in this town. The m’semen sounds wonderful, but also sounds like a complete pain in the ass to make. I can’t even make a decent American pancake.

  • 8 amy @ minimally invasive // Apr 3, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Oh, Claudia, what have you done to me? Looks like I’ll be spending my Saturday morning making m’semmen, pain in the ass though it may be.

  • 9 annie // Apr 3, 2008 at 8:09 am

    You must know that I want one of those (okay, five of them) with a burning passion that knows no limit, but Mr. Annie will not. eat. goat cheese.. We had a hideous fight about his belief that it is disgusting, and my equally strong conviction that it is a perfect food. I may have to have some on the side….

  • 10 claudia // Apr 3, 2008 at 9:08 am

    mari – you have europe at your fingertips. so so very very enviable…

    diana – it is my new fave thing – the latest greatest. i got mine at willians sonoma. i was there, it was there…

    donald – it was so lovely as is… even pork couldn’t make this better.

    robert – i think you’d love it. it is shockingly delicious.

    lucy – oh and there’s so much more to come… sans pork.

    mary – and EZ !

    lesley – it could be our project. trying every bread in this town until we find one we don’t have to bake.

    amy – i kinda wanna try it… i do i do. but could you just send me some of yours?

    annie – do it all for you. g’on…

  • 11 evil chef mom // Apr 3, 2008 at 11:28 am

    So… it’s so good, you are on a kick?! Now I just have to try it… and the store I need to go to is just down the street.

  • 12 countrymouse // Apr 3, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Yum! I have all that stuff here. I’m making it.
    You are now my home page, did I tell you?

  • 13 Jessica // Apr 3, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    nice picture! It looks really yummy!

  • 14 melissa // Apr 3, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    I’m intrigued. I don’t think I’ve ever tried that kind of combination of flavors. you’re always showing me new stuff. :)

  • 15 lifeinrecipes // Apr 4, 2008 at 9:30 am

    I have that Orangette post saved too! This is such a sexy combination of flavor and texture. I think a field trip to Brussels is justly warranted.

  • 16 fluffernutter // Apr 4, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    You know, C, you and I could be a team. I love to bake bread, but I don’t do it anymore because we are rationing carbs. I bake the bread, you bring the exotic ingredients.

  • 17 fluffernutter // Apr 4, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Okay I went to the moroccan pancake post, and first of all, thanks for adding the extra “m” to the name of the pancakes. Didn’t sound so good as m’semen. And second, they sound totally doable. A lot like Chinese green onion pancakes. Could be a weekend project.

  • 18 claudia // Apr 4, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    fluff – that is HILARIOUS that you picked up on that. i thought the same thing and then when i googled it, i swear i was relieved not to have to think up a joke for this post….

    lifeinrecipes – i could not agree more.

    melissa – we learn from each other! it’s a beautiful thing!

    jessica – i don’t know how it’s go over with your big brother from the sounds of things…

    country mouse – xoxo

    evil chef mom – report back and tell me whatcha thought, ok?

  • 19 joycooks // Apr 5, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    claudia, you should totally bake the bread! we do a flatbread at work that would be perfect for this recipe–just a simple pizza dough really, olive oil, salt, a little honey and flour/yeast. It doesn’t even need much rising – then you roll out in small uneven circles and fry on your flat top (which I wish I had!)
    I’m going to try this combo, thanks!

  • 20 linda // Apr 7, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    i somehow missed orangette’s post.. so thank you SO MUCH for pointing out this simply irresistable, flavor-packed dish. i adore every ingredient and yet never thought to put them together. can’t wait! thanks again. love the photograph!

  • 21 myriam // Apr 8, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Claudia, thanks fot the link. I don’t cook bread either, but technically it’s pancake… I’d love to hear if you try it. I hope I didn’t make it sound too difficult, it takes a bit of time but it’s quite easy in fact and so much worth it!
    You’ve made me drool with your goat cheese and spicy olives version… I’m gonna have to try that with the couple of pancakes I’ve hidden in my freezer for the lazy days!
    Like your blog. Will come back to it. Cheers!

  • 22 Kim // Apr 18, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    I stumbled upon this post yesterday while at work, and for the rest of the day I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Today I went to the store, bought all the necessary ingredients, and enjoyed it for lunch. I raided the olive section at my supermarket (where they have them sitting out and you can package them yourself) and bought the spicy olives and mixed them with kalamata olives and Moroccan olives. Now if only I could find harissa somewhere…b/c there wasn’t enough spice with just the spicy olives! Otherwise, delicious, thank you for this!

  • 23 Maureen // Oct 29, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Delicious!! thanks so much – I would never have thought to combine these ingredients. Loved it.

  • 24 Minimally Invasive » Odds & ends // Feb 1, 2009 at 6:56 am

    [...] read about the lure of olives, harissa and goat cheese with honey over at Orangette, but it took cook, eat, FRET’s hearty endorsement to get me to try it last year. And ever since, I’ve gone through [...]

  • 25 Nolensville Road | Lesley Eats // Jun 5, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    [...] Road. There are tons of ethnic groceries, restaurants and bakeries and I was on the hunt for some m’semen for Claudia (okay, for me too). Well, as we were making our way up and down the road, Claudia was [...]

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