Forget about the twelfth century Koutoubia Mosque or the Jemaa el Fna (the medieval city square). The real marvel of Marrakech is its salad. Or more precisely the array of salads—anywhere from a dozen to more than twenty served at the start of a traditional formal Moroccan meal. This one will pique the interest of grill lovers: a flame-roasted pepper salad flavored with cumin, onion, and mint. Normally I would tell you to grill all of the vegetables, but here I like the traditional Moroccan contrast of smoky grilled pepper and crisp raw onions and tomatoes.
4green bell peppers, 5poblano peppers, or 3red bell peppers, plus 3Anaheim or Cubanelle peppers
2luscious, red ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into ¼-inch dice
½sweet onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
3tablespoons chopped fresh mint, cilantro, or flat-leaf parsley (not too finely chopped)
½teaspoon ground cumin
3tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil
1tablespoonfresh lemon juice, or more to taste
1tablespoonred wine vinegar, or more lemon juice
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and Freshly ground black pepper
Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high. There is no need to brush or oil the grill grate.
Arrange the peppers on the hot grate and grill them until the skins are darkly browned and blistered on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side, 12 to 16 minutes in all, turning with tongs. Don’t forget to grill the tops and bottoms of the peppers for 1 to 2 minutes. The idea is to char the skins completely. Transfer the grilled peppers to a cutting board and let them cool to room temperature. (No, you don’t need to place them in a paper bag or bowl covered with plastic wrap. I’ve found no appreciable difference in ease of peeling.)
Using a paring knife, scrape the charred skins off the peppers. There’s no need to remove every last bit; a few black spots will add color and flavor. Cut each pepper in half, remove the core, and scrape out the seeds. Cut each pepper into ¼-inch dice and place them in a nonreactive mixing bowl.
Add the tomato, onion, mint, cumin, olive oil, lemon juice, and wine vinegar, if using, and toss to mix. Season with salt and black pepper to taste; the salad should be highly seasoned. The salad can be prepared several hours ahead, but taste it for seasoning just before serving, adding more salt and/or black pepper as necessary.