We had an International dinner at church last night. I’m a sucker for a church potluck, but this was especially fun because of the theme. Hero and Karma came with me, although they mostly hid out in the youth room rather than have to make grownup conversation. It was an interesting variety of food, from Korea, Colombia, Germany and Boston. 😉 Okay, some people stretched the International idea a little bit, but to be honest, I hadn’t realized how much I missed Boston brown bread! My favorite was the Korean Chap Che, a beef and cellophane noodle dish that I really need to get the recipe for.
My contribution was zaalouk, an eggplant and tomato cooked salad from Morocco. I do not like eggplant generally, but I love it in this. It’s one of three salads that come on a salad platter at the Moroccan restaurant we like to go to, and I can now make all three of them. For those who are interested, here’s the recipe I used.
(Adapted from a recipe at about.com)
1 large eggplant
large tomatoes, seeded and chopped3-4 cloves of garlic, diced or smashed
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley (you can go halfsies with cilantro, but I hate cilantro, so…)
1 T paprika
1 T cumin
1 1/2 t salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
First roast the eggplant. Slice it in half, put the halves face down on a baking tray lined with parchement paper, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the skin starts to collapse slightly. Remove and cool, then scoop out the insides. You can do this a day or two in advance, as you have time and the oven on anyway for something else.
Dump all the ingredients in a dutch oven or large sauce pan and bring to a boil, then turn back the heat and simmer for half an hour. If the ingredients are too chunky at this point, mash them with a vegetable masher, but leave some texture. Continue simmering until the mixture is thick enough to mound up in the middle of the pot. This can take a while, but resist the urge to turn up the heat, as it will burn easily. Long and slow gives the flavors time to develop. Mine cooked almost 2 hours, but it was totally worth it.
This mixture freezes beautifully, so don’t be afraid to make extra. I got two eggplants off the discount rack at the store for this and roasted them that day, keeping the pulp in the fridge until I was ready to make the salad. There were plenty of leftovers, so I’ll pack them up in individual containers and bring one out any time I want to dress up a boring bit of chicken for dinner. Or just for snacking! It’s best eaten with pita, but any bread works, and I bet it would be great as a topping for roast chicken or kebabs!