Serious Eats: Recipes
The Secret Ingredient (Harissa): Salade Cuite
Salade cuite, or cooked salad, has one of those funny names that doesn't quite translate well in any language. Sounds kind of gross, right?
But salade cuite is one of my family's most traditional, guarded, and beloved recipes. And I assure you, it is not gross. Usually a stew of roasted Cubanelle peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and olive oil, it's served hot, cold, or anywhere in between. Something of a pepper-filled ratatouille, salade cuite is best a day or two later from a jar in the fridge.
At large French-Moroccan family dinners, salade cuite, usually in several incarnations, forms about one-fifth of the requisite salad spread—where most of the salads are, indeed, cooked. In addition to the traditional salade cuite described above, there's an all-green version without the tomatoes and Cubanelles in exchange for a variety of spicy green peppers.
As far as I'm concerned, salade cuite is a marvel. You can make a huge batch without much effort and over the course of the week, serve it warm with hunks of baguette at dinner, at room temperature on the same baguette (now stale, sliced, and toasted into croutes), then hot over lazily seared salmon, and cold on a sandwich with fresh mozzarella and butter lettuce. It goes with everything.
I've kicked this version up a bit both in bite and beauty. The harissa adds a punch; there's a pause when you first bite into the salade cuite, then you swallow and it just starts to burn.
I've also made it a bit more glamorous by using Cubanelles and green, yellow, orange, and red bell peppers. Though disputed in my family, I think this is the best salade cuite ever created. (Just don't tell my grandmother I said that.) The salad gets better the longer it sits, but the harissa also gets hotter, so proceed with caution. Don't forget, the harissa makes this salad red for a reason.
About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the French in a Flash series for Serious Eats.