A last little recipe from Maghreb before leaving for faraway lands and dishes from the ends of the earth. This time, with the help of Touria (as always for these recipes), I offer you the recipe for Zaâlouk: a kind of eggplant caviar with a strong aroma. It is a real delight and I would be able to devour the whole thing entirely on my own. It is necessary to take its time to carry out this dish, nothing very complicated either. But the pleasure is so great, that the game is really worth the candle…!
– 4 to 5 small eggplants (or 3 large ones): a total of 550g of cooked flesh is needed
-500g of tomatoes (4 tomatoes in bulk, but it all depends on their size)
-2 cloves of garlic
-2 tablespoons of neutral oil
-1 pinch of Espelette pepper
-1 teaspoon paprika
-1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
-2 tablespoons of olive oil
-1 small bunch of coriander, chopped
-1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
Scald the tomatoes for 30 seconds.
Then peel them.
Remove the inner pulp from the tomatoes (with a spoon or small knife).
Cut the tomatoes into pieces and put them in the hot pan without oil! It is by omitting the oil at first that we will allow the tomatoes to really dry out .
Add crushed or chopped garlic.
The tomatoes will give back their juice.
They must be given time to return the water that must evaporate for the most part. Add paprika and two tablespoons of neutral oil (sunflower).
Then let it cook until the water is no longer present, it should become more pasty.
Meanwhile, put a small grill on the gas (even a small camping gas works if you don’t have gas at home) and put the eggplants directly in contact with the flame.
Turn them regularly to burn the skin. This takes time, 15 minutes in all, because the skin must be burned on all sides.
Note from Bernard:
to get the characteristic smoky taste of this dish, you need to burn the skin of the eggplants. But you can also put them in the oven near the grill at maximum heat, turning them regularly. The taste will not be quite the same, but will still be very good!
As the eggplants are grilled, put them in a small plastic bag that you close as soon as you put them in.
Do the same for all the eggplants.
Let stand for 20 minutes. The steam from the eggplant will continue to cook it. Then peel off the grilled skin with a small knife, scraping off all the black parts.
Then cut the eggplants into small pieces.
Add them to the tomatoes, which have been well reduced in the meantime.
Mix well and add the cumin powder and espelette pepper (or hot pepper) and the two tablespoons of olive oil.
Mix well and return to moderate heat, stirring regularly.
Chop the small bunch of coriander and flat-leaf parsley, then add to the pan.
The mass will dry out more and more and change color. Always mix and cook to obtain a zaâlouk that does not give back water at all.
It’s ready! The cooking time will strongly depend on the quality of the vegetables used, so be patient!
Best eaten warm, as is or with bread.