What’s For Dinner?
Keftegie - from Little Alley Tapas Bar & Restaurant
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
From the Menu of ... Little Alley Tapas Bar & Restaurant
690 Holcomb Bridge Road, Roswell
Q: My wife, Rachel, and I had a wonderful dinner at Little Alley Tapas Bar in Roswell. All the tapas selections were wonderful, but we really liked a North African vegetable dip called keftegie, accompanied by little flatbread triangles. It was delicious, as was everything else we tasted. I’d like to make this at home. Can you work your recipe-obtaining magic for us?
-- Larry Russell, Roswell
A: Chef Richard Wilt describes his recipe for keftegie (sometimes spelled keftaji) as “Tunisian street comfort food. I have Tunisian friends, and every Ramadan … I make it for them,” he said. Served like a warm dip with bread, the dish is made of cooked vegetables coarsely mashed together and seasoned with harissa, a North African chile sauce. “Every time you bite, it’s like a new flavor,” added Little Alley owner Hicham Azhari.
-- Deborah Geering, for the Journal-Constitution
Harissa, the key seasoning, can be purchased online or at specialty markets such as Shahrzad International in Sandy Springs. Alon’s Bakery & Market in Atlanta also sells it; ask at the counter.
Hands on time: 40 minutes Total time: 40 minutes Serves: 6
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 small tomatoes, quartered
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 large russet potato, skin on, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 small butternut squash (1 to 1¸ pounds, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 red onion, cut into 2 pieces
1 jalapeño pepper, cut lengthwise in half and seeded
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon nonpareil capers
1 1/2 teaspoons harissa
Salt and pepper to taste
6 Middle Eastern flatbreads or pocketless pitas
3 eggs, beaten
Paprika for garnish
Meanwhile, heat the fryer oil to 350 degrees. Bring a small pot of water to boil and blanch the potatoes for 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Deep-fry the squash and potato until fork-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil. Add the onion and jalapeño to the fryer and cook until fork-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Coarsely chop jalapeño.
Squeeze garlic into a medium mixing bowl and mash well. Add tomato, squash, potato and onion pieces and, using 2 knives, cut in a scissorlike motion into a coarse mash. You should still see pieces of individual vegetables. Add the jalapeño pieces, cilantro, cumin, capers, harissa and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Brush bread lightly with olive oil and pan toast over medium heat until light brown and crispy. Cut into triangles.
In a sauté pan over high heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the keftegie mixture and eggs. Stir fry, working quickly to incorporate the egg, and cook until heated through. Garnish with paprika and serve with bread.