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ZAALOUK MOROCCAN EGGPLANT AND TOMATO SALAD

ZAALOUK MOROCCAN EGGPLANT AND TOMATO SALAD
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Keys to a great Zaalouk, eggplant, peppers and tomato.

NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO MAKE THIS WONDERFUL SIDE DISH

Amal Tajjou-Noble with her finished Zaalouk

Zaalouk is beloved in Morocco and once you’ve tried you’ll see why. It’s a cooked salad featuring eggplants and tomatoes, seasoned with paprika, cumin, garlic, and fresh herbs. For an extra layer of smoky flavor, the eggplants and peppers are oven-roasted.  True story: my dear friend Vesna, emailed me a link to an Instagram post by a woman named Amal Tajjou-Noble. At that exact moment, I happened to be at our favorite farm stand and right in front of me were all Ms. Tajjou Noble’s Zaalouk essentials. I brought them all home and almost immediately made my first batch of this flavor-filled salad. It’s typically served as a dip with traditional Moroccan bread. You can see Amal in action right here…https://www.instagram.com/amaltajjiounoble/reel/C7K2S6hJrbS/

FEEL FREE TO PLAY WITH THE RECIPE

If you watch the video, you’ll see that Amal’s recipe is not quite as precise as you might wish. That’s a really a feature of the dish. Exact measurements aren’t crucial for Zaalouk. Feel free to play with the  Adjust the tomato-to-eggplant ratio based on your preference or what you have on hand. The seasoning is flexible, and you can use more or less olive oil as desired.  As you’ll see, there’s that most controversial of herbs, cilantro in the recipe.  Frankly, we think it makes the eish but for cilantro-phobes may be forgiven–just double the parsley and leave it out. The first time used a more detailed recipe than Amal’s.  It’s from www.tasteofmoroc.com. Food writer Christine Benlafquih founded Taste of Maroc to share and preserve her rich collection of Moroccan recipes and tutorials. Many of these gems were crafted during her time as the Moroccan food expert at About.com from 2008 to 2016.  While Taste of Moroc’s primary focus in traditional Moroccan cuisine, the site also features practical guides and articles about Moroccan lifestyle, culture, travel, living in Morocco and more. It’s well worth a look.

ROASTING IS PREFERRED WHEN COOKING ZAALOUK

Many Moroccan cooks use a One-Pot method peeling and chopping the tomatoes and eggplant, putting them in a deep skillet with the rest of the ingredients and a little water. However, we took our cues from Amal and roasted our eggplant and peppers in the oven. This added a smoky flavor that contributed a lot to the dish.  Then, when I made it again for the second time in a week, I doubled the number of peppers and instead of a dip-like purée I ended up with a chunkier version that was heaven. Enjoy zaalouk warm, cold, or at room temperature. I served it as a dip. And then I used it as a topping for swordfish as seen at left.  One final word: Amal’s technique for skinning the eggplant didn’t work either time I tried it. I wish you more luck. However, I discovered it’s just as easy to peel the roasted eggplant as it is to squeeze it out of its skin. Here’s today’s recipe and after it, another Moroccan dish to try.

ZAALOUK MOROCCAN EGGPLANT AND TOMATO SALAD

July 1, 2024
: 4
: 20 min
: 40 min
: 60 min
: Easy

To make this popular Moroccan side or salad, fresh tomatoes and eggplants are seasoned with a robust quantity of herbs, garlic, olive oil, and spices then cooked to a dip-like consistency.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 large eggplants - or 3 medium
  • 2 medium or large tomatoes - or more to taste
  • 2 Red Peppers
  • 2 Yellow Peppers
  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped - or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley - approx.
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro - approx.
  • 1 teaspoon salt - or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons paprika - or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cumin - or to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil - approx.
  • no need to measure
  • Juice one whole lemon.
  • Optional: Cayenne pepper or whole chili peppers - optional to taste
  • Chopped parsley or cilantro - optional
  • for garnish
  • Olive oil - optional
  • to drizzle on top as garnish
Directions
  • Step 1 Trim the stems from the eggplants and make slits all over the skin.. Arrange the eggplant in a baking dish lined with parchment and place it under the broiler as close to the flame or heating element as possible.
  • Step 2 Roast the eggplants for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the skins are charred and puckered with sections that crumble or crack like burnt paper when pressed. The flesh will be very soft.
  • Step 3 While the eggplant is roasting, peel, seed, and chop the tomatoes.
  • Step 4 Transfer the chopped tomatoes to a skillet along with the olive oil, garlic, parsley, cilantro, and spices. The optional cayenne and whole chili peppers can be added at this time as well.
  • Step 5 Cook the tomato mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes break down and a rich tomato sauce forms. This usually takes 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how soft the tomatoes were and how many you used.
  • Step 6 When the eggplants and bell peppers are roasted, remove them from the oven. When cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scoop the flesh from the skin. Discard the skin. Peel the bell peppers and chop them into pieces
  • Step 7 Add the eggplant flesh and the peppers to the tomato mixture, stirring to combine. Use the back of a spoon or a fork to mash any firm bits of eggplant.
  • Step 8 Add lemon juice or a very small wedge of lemon. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. The dish is best served within 2 days of making. It will however freeze well.

HERE ARE SOME OTHER GREAT MOROCCAN RECIPES ON CHEWING THE FAT. CLICK ON THE PHOTO OR ON THE LINK.

Moroccan Beef Meatball Tajine

Moroccan Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce or "Kefta Mkaouara"

Grandma’s Melt-in-your-mouth Moroccan meatballs and celery (Krafs ouel Kouari) from Lisa Elmaleh Craig’s “Grandma Elmaleh’s Moroccan Cookbook”, Uncle Earl’s and Cousin Kelly’s Moroccan “Quick Bread” and “Charissa”.

Moroccan Flavored Tagine of Chicken with special thanks to Mrs. Eileen Gaden

B’stilla, Moroccan “Pigeon Pie”



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