Saturday, August 30, 2008

Zaalouk - Moroccan Eggplant Salad

Zaalouk – Moroccan Eggplant Salad
From The Ethnic Paris Cookbook

Hands-on Time: 15 minutes
Roasting Time: 60 minutes or so

Serves 4-6 (Ruth’s note: Great not only as an appetizer with pita or tortilla chips, it’s also wonderful as a topping for roasted or grilled fish)

1.5lb/700g eggplant
5 cloves garlic, skin on
1.5lb/700g tomatoes, chopped (Ruth’s note: I used one can - 28oz/974ml diced tomatoes, drained instead)
1 tbsp tomato paste
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tsp harissa paste
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ bunch fresh parsley, chopped (Ruth’s note: I used about ½ cup)
¼ bunch fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped
¼ cup argan or walnut oil (Ruth’s note: the bottle of argan oil cost $54, so I went with good quality olive oil instead)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Prick the eggplant all over with a fork. Place garlic cloves and eggplant on a baking sheet (Ruth’s note: line with foil for easy cleanup) and roast turning frequently until tender - at least 40 minutes unless the eggplants are really small. Don’t let the garlic get brown or they will be bitter. Check after 20 minutes. If they are soft, remove them from the oven and set aside.)

2. While the eggplant and garlic are cooking, place the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste in a saucepan and simmer over low heat until it’s reduced to a thick sauce, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

3. Once the vegetables are roasted, slip the garlic out of their skins and mash with the back of a fork. Set aside.

4. Transfer the eggplant to a colander, split them in half and let the juices drain. Working in the colander, scrape the flesh from the skin and press out as much liquid as possible. Discard the skin and add the pulp to the garlic.

5. Transfer the cooled tomatoes to the bowl of a food processor. Add the eggplant and garlic and the rest of the ingredients…except the oil. Pulse to a coarse puree. With the motor running slowly add the oil in a thin, steady stream through the feed tube.

Taste for seasoning and serve at room temperature with crusty bread, pita or tortilla chips as an appetizer. Or....

It was wonderful over roasted halibut fillets and roasted cherry tomatoes on the side.

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