Tchoutchouka: Moroccan Roasted Pepper and Tomato Salad
With a husband who doesn’t eat green peppers and a daughter who doesn’t eat anything green (with the exception of green candy, of course) I had the entire tchoutchouka to myself. Talk about excitement. I would love for them to include the joy of green peppers in their life but I must admit that, secretly, I was happy I had no competition. Next time, I will be less selfish and make it with red peppers so they, too, can experience the wonders of this marvelous dish.
Tchouktchouka is as traditional a Moroccan dish as traditional can get. I kept the recipe authentic and unchanged in honor of generations and generations of cooks who made it the same way in every big town, small hamlet, and nameless village on the map of Morocco.
Dip your bread in it, serve it as a side dish, sandwich spread or Moroccan-style bruschetta on crusty whole-grain bread. It is guaranteed delicious any way you choose to eat it and well worth a try!
2 medium green bell peppers
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground paprika
Line the surroundings of a gas burner with aluminum foil (you’ll be thankful you did when the pepper starts dripping its sticky juices). Turn on the flame to medium-high and char the peppers on all sides until blackened and blistered all over, about 10 minutes. Use tongs to turn them as they can get very hot.
Place the peppers in a paper bag and close it, for about 15 minutes, to allow the peppers to sweat and their skin to become softer. Peel the skin off the peppers using your fingers. Discard the stem and seeds. Finely dice the peppers. Set aside.
Place the tomatoes in a medium skillet with olive oil. Add the garlic and season the tomatoes with salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. Cook the tomatoes until they become soft and turn into somewhat of a thick, chunky sauce, 10 to 15 minutes. Mix in the diced peppers and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Serve with bread or crackers.