I used to work with an old French chef who was in the French foreign legion. He was posted in North Africa and his restaurant cuisine reflected upon this. Many French chefs made infused the cuisine of North Africa with French cuisine throughout history. The unique style of French cuisine was well liked by the retirement age clientele that remembered Hollywood movies like "The Maltese Falcon."
Those who like the classic Egyptian breakfast recipe, Ful Medames, will surely like today's North African style breakfast creation. Harissa Tomato Chickpeas adds a nice flavor to this breakfast entrée. Moroccan spiced couscous has an interesting flavor that is suitable for breakfast.
Hard boiled eggs are traditional for breakfast nearly everywhere in North Africa and the Middle East. In the old days before paved roads and automobiles, hard boiled eggs were easier to transport long distances by Beduins riding horses or camels. Hard boiled eggs became a traditional breakfast out of necessity for cultures like the Beduin.
One of the long lasting French culinary influences in North Africa is bread. French Baguettes are popular nearly everywhere in North Africa, especially Tunisia.
Sometimes I publish this boiled egg recipe for beginners.
Fresh eggs that are only a few days old are nearly impossible to peal. Eggs that are closer to 2 weeks old are the best for making hard boiled eggs.
Step 1: Place 1 to 12 large eggs in a sauce pot.
Add enough cold water to cover the eggs with an extra 2" of liquid.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Place the pot over high heat.
Step 2: As soon as the water starts to boil, set the timer.
*For soft center yolks, set the timer for 8 to 10 minutes. For fully cooked yolks, set the timer for 12 minutes.
Boil till the timer goes off.
Step 3: Remove the pot from the heat.
Place the pot under cold running water to cool the eggs.
Step 4: Peel the eggs under water.
Harissa Tomato Chickpeas:
This recipe yields 1 portion.
This harissa sauce contains tomato for a mellower breakfast flavor.
Harissa can be made with dried ground mild red peppers or it can be made with fresh roasted and smoked mild red peppers.
Step 1: Heat a small sauté pan over medium low heat.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced onion.
Add 1 minced garlic clove.
Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
Step 2: Add 1/2 cup of water.
Add 4 ounces of tomato puree.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of ground Spanish Paprika.
Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper. (optional)
Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Add 1 pinch of coriander.
Stir the sauce.
Step 3: Add 1 cup of rinsed pre-cooked garbanzo beans or rinsed canned garbanzo beans.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Gently simmer till the sauce becomes thick enough to easily coat the beans.
Keep the chickpeas warm over very low heat or reheat them to order.
Moroccan Spice Couscous:
This recipe yields 3 to 4 portions.
Step 1: Place 3/4 cup of water in a small sauce pot.
Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth.
Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste.
Add 1 teaspoon of minced onion.
Step 2: Add 1 pinch of turmeric.
Add 1 pinch of saffron.
Add 1 small pinch of cinnamon.
Add 1 small pinch of mace.
Add 1 very small pinch of ground clove.
Add 1 pinch of cumin.
Add 2 pinches of coriander.
Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
Add 1 small pinch of Spanish Paprika.
Add 1 small pinch of ground fennel.
Step 3: Place the pot over medium high heat.
Bring the liquid to a boil.
Add 3/4 cup of small fine couscous.
Stir and boil, till most of the liquid becomes absorbed by the couscous.
Step 4: Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
Add 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of lime juice.
Stir the couscous.
Place a lid over the couscous pot.
Keep the couscous warm on a stove top.
Petit-Déjeuner de Nord-Africaine:
Use a custard cup mold to place the Moroccan Spiced Couscous on the center of a plate.
Spoon the Algerian style harissa chickpeas on the front half of the plate.
Place several slices of toasted French baguette bread on the back half of the plate.
Cut the boiled egg into quarters and place them on the harissa chickpeas.
Garnish with Italian Parsley sprigs.
Viola! A nice looking North African style breakfast with a little bit of French influence!