The Elegant Tagine

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Yesterday Evan and I ventured to Pasadena for a tagine cooking and tasting demo performed by Chef Farid Zadi, the Dean of the new Ecole de Cuisine Pasadena which will formally debut in October of this year.  Zadi, born in Lyon, France to Algerian parents, marries the flavors of North Africa with the precision of Escoffier.  For lunch he served a seafood tagine with squid, clams, mussels and dover sole…
a spicy beef tagine long simmered in carrots, onions and tomatoes…
and my personal favorite, a rabbit tagine with prunes, sweet onions and marcona almonds.
If I learned anything today, it’s not to be intimidated by this new cooking technique.  Tagine cooking is simple, beautiful and efficient – a perfect pairing for dinner for 2 or a dinner party for 8.  In fact, after today’s demo I plan on purchasing Sur la Table’s tagine (pictured below)  asap – at $25 it will be the most economical bit of cookware I’ve purchased in some time!
All of these dishes will be served at the Couscous Festival in Pasadena on October 16th and 17th alongside Chef Zadi’s lamb mechoui, a whole roasted lamb slow cooked in a smoker for 4 to 5 hours, and grilled merguez sausage which the chef learned to make at his uncle’s butcher shop in France.

For a schedule of events and to purchase tickets to the Couscous Festival, visit their website here.  Be sure to arrive early to get a taste of all Chef Zadi has to offer.