Eggplant zaalouk


  • Serves 8 people

"This recipe is my version of the famous eggplant and tomato salad called zaalouk, one of the best of all cooked Moroccan salads," writes Paula Wolfert. "Zaalouk is utterly delicious on slices of warm Berber griddle bread [see The Food of Morocco for the bread recipe] and will keep for several days in the refrigerator, getting better and better. For this recipe I use medium black-skinned eggplant because this type tastes better than smaller eggplant when grilled. Begin a day in advance as the salad must be chilled overnight before serving."

  • 2 black eggplant (350gm each)
  • 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 450 gm red-ripe tomatoes, peeled, halved, seeded and chopped, or drained chopped canned tomatoes
  • Pinch of caster sugar (if the tomatoes are acidic)
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin, preferably Moroccan
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
01   Pierce each eggplant in one or two places with a skewer. If you are cooking over coals, slowly cook the eggplant until blackened all over, collapsed and cooked through (20-30 minutes). If you are cooking indoors, preheat the griller and set the rack on the second-highest rung. Halve each eggplant lengthways, then place cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Grill until blackened and tender (about 20 minutes). Dump the eggplant into a colander set in the sink. Peel while still hot, then allow the flesh to drain until cool. Squeeze gently to remove any remaining bitter juices.
02   Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium non-stick frying pan set over a moderate heat. Add the tomatoes, sugar, if using, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and ½ tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
03   Crush the eggplant flesh with a fork and add to the pan. Stir in the chopped coriander and continue cooking, stirring often, until thick and juicy (10-15 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and fold in lemon juice and salt to taste. Cool, then cover and chill overnight.
04   Return the salad to room temperature, and toss with the remaining olive oil before serving.

Note The Food of Morocco ($65, hbk) by Paula Wolfert is published by Bloomsbury. These recipes have been reproduced with minor GT style changes.

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