North African Cuisine Feature

Paying attention to an unsung part of the Mediterranean

Eat in New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Portland: You can't spit without hitting a restaurant menu that claims "the Mediterranean" as muse.

But too often, that reference is general, referring to the workhorse cuisines of Spain, France, Italy, maybe Greece.

So this month, we're exploring the other side of the Mediterranean in our November Monthly Edition: North Africa | North America. Like never before, the flavors, techniques and ingredients from countries such as Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt are seeping into dishes served in restaurants and at home in the United States.

Nothing shows the breadth and diversity of North Africa's culinary influence more than its two greatest emissaries, Paula Wolfert and Mourad Lahlou. To begin the month, we've charted their paths, at once comparable and divergent. Though their cooking styles have little in common, both Wolfert and Lahlou agree on the fundamentals–such as preserved lemon, the equivalent of garlic in Morocco's culinary arsenal. This ingredient plays an integral role in both of their cookbooks; Lahlou's Mourad: New Moroccan, and Wolfert's The Food of Morocco.

Throughout November, the story will grow: a Tunisian dessert recipe from a French restaurant empire, tips for the ideal North African roasted lamb, an exploration of Moroccan wine (yes, there's wine in Morocco) and a guide to setting a gorgeous North African table.

Welcome to the Mediterranean, renewed.