"Sweet & Salt Relish" is a recipe entry dated March/April 2003 in one of my little recipe books. Each book corresponds to a time period, the restaurant I was working in at the time. The pages in this one reflect recipes I used in my first months at Aziza, a Moroccan restaurant with a particularly modern Californian slant.
I was attempting to create a vegan garnish for the sorbet plate. Mourad Lahlou, Aziza's chef/owner, serves food thick with aroma and spice, rich with clarified butter and intense from slow braised meat sauces. My goal was to create sweets clean and bright with seasonal flavors: desserts I would crave after eating his North African sweet-savory food.
Inspired by Haroseth and in lieu of Passover, a Jewish holiday ending in the eating of flour-free (unleavened) desserts, I give you an intriguing garnish for just about anything sweet, savory, or both. Although this recipe could be made very quickly in a food processor, I strongly suggest chopping all the fruits and nuts by hand. Not only will you have more control over the size and shape of each piece, it will give you time to meditate on the traditions of eating representational foods.
SWEET & SALT RELISH
2 C Organic Raw Almonds
3/4 Cup Candied Kumquats*
1 Cup California Dried Apricots
10 each Dried White Figs
1 Cup Cold Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Sel Gris
1/4 Cup Cocoa Nibs
Optional: Honey, Lemon Zest or 1/4 Preserved Lemon (peel only)