Moroccan Zaalouk with Roasted Eggplant, Peppers and Tomatoes
1 large eggplant (or 2 medium)
2 green bell peppers
3 large tomatoes
1 or 2 chili pepper (optional)
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro and/or parsley
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
1 chili pepper (optional)
1Preheat your broiler to its highest setting. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2 Trim the stem from the eggplant and slice it in half lengthwise. Place it on the baking sheet, skin side up.
3 Trim the stems from the green peppers, slice them in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the pepper halves skin side up on the baking sheet, flattening them with your hand (or breaking them into pieces if necessary) so that they lay flat.
4 Roast the vegetables under the broiler for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the skins on the peppers are dark and blistered and the eggplant is soft and yields to the touch. If the peppers finish roasting before the eggplant, remove them to a plate while the eggplant finishes.
5 While the eggplant and peppers are roasting, prep the remaining ingredients. Peel, seed and chop the tomatoes. Transfer them to a deep skillet and add the garlic, cilantro, olive oil, water and spices.
6 Remove and discard the skin from the roasted bell peppers; coarsely chop them and add them to the skillet. With a spoon, scoop out the flesh of roasted eggplant, discarding large clumps of seeds. Chop or mash the eggplant then add it to skillet. Discard the eggplant skin.
7 Stir to combine the ingredients, cover the skillet and simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
8 Use a spoon or vegetable masher to crush and puree the cooked tomatoes and eggplant, add the lemon juice, and continue cooking, uncovered, to reduce the liquids.
9 Stir occasionally and keep an eye on the heat, adjusting it if necessary to avoid scorching the zaalouk.
10 Taste and adjust seasoning. Continue cooking until the zaalouk has reduced to a paste-like consistency (you should be able to stir it into a smooth mass in the center of the pot).
11 Serve warm or cold with crusty bread. A little fresh parsley or a drizzle of olive oil may be used as garnish. Minced roasted chili pepper may be offered on the side as a condiment for the salad.