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From the bookstore: 'Mourad New Moroccan'

December 26, 2011 | 12:14 pm

This year brought the cookbook "Mourad New Moroccan" from acclaimed San Francisco chef Mourad Lahlou of AzizaThis has been a great year for Moroccan cookbooks. We got Paula Wolfert's "The Food of Morocco," which takes a very traditional approach -- and the recipes all work, brilliantly. But this year also brought "Mourad New Moroccan" from acclaimed San Francisco chef Mourad Lahlou of Aziza.

In this book and at his restaurant, Lahlou marries traditional Moroccan cuisine with a contemporary California approach. I haven't had a chance to cook from it yet, but I can't wait. The first recipe I saw when I opened the book? Harissa Bloody Mary. I'm trying it tonight.

As soon as my fava bean crop comes into production, I want to make his fava beans and ramps with 5 1/2 minute eggs and chicken cracklings. Meanwhile, I'm drawn to lentil soup garnished with date balls(!) and a celery salad. His breads look like real beauties too.

Just as I was thinking I'd like to have Dungeness crab on New Year's Eve, here's his recipe for roasted crab with Meyer lemon and harissa butter. Or I could cook the steamed lamb shoulder with saffron butter and cumin salt. "Steaming," he wrote, "makes lamb insanely moist and pull-apart tender, and, for added interest, I like to finish the meat in a hot oven to crisp the exterior." This I have to try.

"Mourad New Moroccan" by Mourad Lahlou (Artisan, 2011, 400 pages, $40.)

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-- S. Irene Virbila
twitter.com/sirenevirbila

Image: The cover of "Mourad New Moroccan." Credit: Artisan Books

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