La Mamounia

May 20th, 2012 § 0 comments

La Mamounia in the magical, mysterious Moroccan city of Marrakesh, is the best hotel in the world. At least it’s the best hotel HG and BSK ever stayed in. Art Deco deluxe. Don’t take HG’s word for it. It was Winston Churchill’s favorite hotel and he spent happy times painting in the hotel’s lovely gardens. When not rummaging in Marrakech’s souks, bargaining for rugs and inspecting masterpieces of Islamic architecture and garden planning, HG and BSK swam in the vast hotel pool and sun bathed on the comfortable chaise lounges. The pool area was populated by pert young Frenchwomen. Topless, of course. Their nervous husbands paced around puffing on large cigars and conducting staccato conversations on their cell phones. For HG, the charms of the poolside buffet far outshone the French damsels. Inventive Moroccan salads. Grilled lobster and shrimp. Kebabs of tender lamb fragrant with North African spices. Couscous, certainly. And, much,much more.

HG was reminded of all of this by Florence Fabricant’s baked fish recipe in the New York Times food section. The writer had tasted the dish at La Mamounia and gave it a rave. BSK cooked the dish last night and it will become a household perennial. Essentially, some reasonably firm fish fillets (BSK used catfish) are smothered in a variety of spices; showered with garlic, cilantro, flat leaf parsley; doused with olive oil. vinegar and lemon juice. The fish rests on a bed of sliced potatoes and is covered with sliced red peppers, plum tomatoes and kalamata olives. Baked in the oven for some 30 minutes (or less). Super stuff. HG gave his substantial portion a shot of harissa, the Moroccan fiery condiment composed of chile peppers, olive oil and garlic. The lily was gilded.

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