Sunday, March 13, 2011
Whilst browsing through my recipes recently, I discovered an interesting sounding dip which had been torn out from a Sunday paper many moons ago. Zaalouk is a Moroccan roasted eggplant and tomato dip with spices, the ingredients sounded like a good blend and something that was a little different so I decided to bring this along to a family BBQ along with the quinoa salad.
It is a rather time-intensive snack to put together, however there is a lot of down time throughout the process. Slightly charring eggplants over a flame, then roasting the eggplants, followed by removing their skin, slow-roasting of the eggplants plus the tomatoes, and finally frying the eggplants and tomatoes with spices. Phew, that is quite a process for a simple dip!
After sampling the zaalouk with some rice crackers, I was very happy with how it had turned out. I knew it would taste so much nicer with some Turkish bread and decided to give this a try. The result of the bread was not up to scratch as it turned out to be rather dry and not at all soft and spongy like nice Turkish bread is, so I will be looking for another recipe next time.
The sad part about the dip is no-one was able to sample it as soon after our arrival a flighty young cat jumped onto the bench and knocked the dish containing the dip off. The dish smashed, made an almighty mess and that was the end of the zaalouk! Being the animal loving person that I am, it was impossible to stay cross with naughty little Tom for long. I'll definitely have to make this again for a gathering, next time hopefully everyone will be able to try it!
Zaalouk (Recipe by Karen Martini from the Sunday Age)
10 ripe roma tomatoes, core removed
200ml extra vigin olive oil (I used about half or less)
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon harissa
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 bunch coriander, chopped finely
1/2 bunch mint, chopped finely
Nigella (kaloonji, black cumin) seeds, for garnish
Preheat oven to 200C. Rest eggplants over a naked gas flame to blacken the skin, turning over on all sides for 3-5 minutes. Place eggplants on an oven tray and roast for 15-20 minutes. Remove and scoop out flesh with a spoon, discarding the skin.
Place eggplant in a clean roasting dish, Add tomatoes and olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Reduce oven temperature and 150C and slow-roast from 1 hour. Remove and allow to rest for 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, pull off tomato skins with your fingers. Remove eggplants and tomatoes from the oil and set aside.
Place 3 tablespoons of the roasting oil (skimmed from the top of the roasting dish) in a large frying pan and cook garlic over medium heat for 2 minutes. Grind spices in a mortar and pestle and add to the pan. Stir in eggplants and tomatoes and cook for 10-15 minutes or until thickened. Add harissa, season with salt and allow to cool.
Transfer mixture to a serving bowl or plate, add lemon juice and drizzle over more roasting oil. Stir herbs through the dip and add nigella seeds to garnish.