Why It Works
- A thoughtful mix of salty-tart preserved lemon, briny olives, and sweet green peas creates an easy salad that’s big on flavor.
- Using frozen peas (which are sweeter than fresh peas most of the year) makes this a salad that works in any season.
A classic Moroccan meal includes an array of salads, usually served at the beginning of the meal with bread on the side. These salads can either be cooked or eaten raw and are traditionally heavy in olive oil. Cooked salads are served at room temperature and can be made with seasonal or frozen vegetables.
This pea, olive, and preserved lemon salad is inspired by my craving for a good old Moroccan salad. The combination of the sharp and intense ground ginger, ground turmeric, preserved lemon, and olives is very common in Moroccan cuisine, and more particularly in the m’qualli tagine, which uses similar ingredients. Here, I combine those flavors with sweet spring peas, though most often I use frozen peas, as they’re picked and frozen at their peak, and thus consistently sweeter and more tender than most fresh peas, save for a narrow window in the spring. Plus, frozen peas are ready in an instant, making this salad incredibly quick to pull together.
To make this salad, I start by gently blooming the spices in olive oil, allowing the heat to coax out and lightly toast the spice flavors; because many of the flavor molecules in spices are fat-soluble, this step infuses the oil with flavor and ensures the spices come through in every bite. After that, I add the peas, preserved lemon, garlic, and cilantro, and warm them all together, just long enough for the peas to defrost. After stirring in the olives off-heat, the salad is ready as a delightful side.