The German-Moroccan from Bergen – Moroccan by birth, German by upbringing, Bergen throughout his long adulthood – promotes an expanded concept of salad in his new book, Aicha salad fantasier. Through 126 recipes, everything from almost minimalist combinations of leaves, avocado and seeds through traditional Moroccan salads to a Peruvian version of salad ceviche and Thailand work, Bouhlou draws colorful outer borders of lettuce on large platters.
For many Norwegians, salad is still a mindless and often bland combination of iceberg lettuce mixed with tomato slices, canned corn and maybe a few onions, topped with bottled dressing. In Bouhlou’s eyes, it’s hardly a salad. Or at least a salad barely worth eating.
Aicha Bouhlou’s definition of salad is more distant and colorful. And it’s easy to improve.
– You don’t need a lot of knowledge about cooking or techniques. It’s about fine ingredients and a little generosity with them. Then you can conjure up a new image every day and make everyday life more colorful and cheerful.
Bouhlou, who made the leap from gallerist to blogger and finally cookbook author, is not a trained chef. Three cookbooks later, she’s still terrified of submitting recipes that don’t work.
– I really want to take out a loan and buy all the books so that no one gets them. I’m so afraid something is going to go wrong, she says.
No later than the day before we speak, she had to prepare three dishes from “Aicha’s salad fantasies” in her kitchen to make sure they worked.