Moroccan Roasted Eggplant Salad: Zaalook
If I had never had zaalouk and somebody told me about an eggplant mash recipe, I would not have been impressed. Not only that, I would have turned my heel and walked away, not interested the least bit in what sounds like a slimy mush at best.
But, dear reader, I know how good it is. I know that it’s smoky and garlicky, spiced and zesty. So there is no turning of heels nor walking away but rather open arms and an excited appetite. Knowing is trusting. Really knowing is trusting hard. Trusting is loving. And loving is bragging about and recommending. I know, trust and love zaalouk. And I recommend it.
Roasted Eggplant Salad: Zaalook/Zaalouk Recipe
For the eggplants
1 medium eggplant
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
For the sauce
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut off the top and bottom of the eggplant and peel it, leaving sporadic strips of skin throughout. Cut it into 1-inch cubes. If the eggplant is old and excessively seedy, you may need to salt and drain it for at least 30 minutes before use, otherwise proceed directly. Place the eggplant cubes in a single layer in a baking dish or cookie sheet and generously brush them with olive oil. Roast them for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and mash the eggplants on a cutting board with a fork or potato masher.
In a medium sauté pan, cook the tomatoes with garlic and olive oil over medium heat, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the mashed eggplants and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, mashing them some more with a spatula to completely blend with the tomatoes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sea salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and vinegar.