Proud to share my Tunisian culinary triumph with my mentors, I proclaimed one day that I had made tajin but I had not used the prescribed parsley, as “the cupboard was bare”. I was told in no uncertain terms, that I had not made “Tajin” – an important lesson in my tutorial. Parsley is not simply an accent. It is a star ingredient! In repentance of my err, I have not neglected parsley since, being grateful that I can employ the busy fingers of my children in picking the leaves form the bitter stems – my “Parsley Pickers” extraordinaire.
Akin to the Moroccan version in name only, Tunisian Tajin more accurately resembles a quiche of potatoes, chicken, swiss cheese….and oh, parsley! Americans use bread, Mexicans the tortilla, Asians the eggroll wrapper, to encase whatever lovelies are in want of a blanket. Tunisians use malsouka, a paper thin water/flour pastry, similar to a crepe, most notably used in the national pastry brik – another day, another entry. Malsouka sheets provide a delicate, crunchy casing for meat, fish, and vegetables as well as sweet, nutty fillings.
2 cups shredded cooked chicken 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup cubed cooked potato
1 large onion, chopped ½ cup chopped parsley
2 eggs 2 dozen lumpia/malsouka
½ cup butter wrappers or filo pastry
salt and pepper to taste
-Saute onion and garlic in 2 tab. oil until transparent. Stir in chicken. Beat eggs and add to chicken mixture. Cook and scramble over medium heat until egg is cooked. Cool mixture. Stir in salt and pepper, cheese, potato and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.
-If using filo pastry, melt butter. Place 2 sheets of filo on a buttered pizza pan and brush with melted butter. Place another 2 sheets on top in a pinwheel effect and brush with butter. Continue brushing and layering until you have used 8 sheets. Place the chicken mixture on top.
-Fold the overlapping filo over the top of the filling. Place 2 sheets of filo over the top and brush with butter. Continue to layer buttered filo over the top in the same pinwheel effect until you have used 8 sheets. Tuck the overhanging edges under the pie to form a neat round parcel. Brush well with the remaining butter.
(If using lumpia or malsouka wrappers, place 1 wrapper at a time in bottom of buttered 10 inch pie plate. Butter and continue layering wrappers until 6 sheets are layered. Mound filling in center of layered pastry. Cover the top with 6 more wrappers, buttering each one. Tuck the edges in around the edges of the pie.)
-Bake the pie for 40-45 minutes until golden. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges.