MOROCCAN ROASTED EGGPLANT SALAD

This salad is know under the Moroccan name zaalouk. The eggplants can be fried or oven-roasted.

For the eggplants
1 medium eggplant
1/3 cup 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
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Scant 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice
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 1/2-inch slices. 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 slices in a single layer in a large baking dish or cookie sheet and generously brush both sides with olive oil. Roast them for 25 to 30 minutes until tender. (Alternatively, you could fry the eggplant slices until tender.)

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 sea salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. 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 vinegar.

Serve warm, cold or at room temperature, garnished with chopped parsley. Serve with flatbread or crusty bread.

Serves 4