Recipe By: Chef Rabia, Riad Dar Masouda, Fes, Morocco

Recipe By: Chef Rabia, Riad Dar Masouda, Fes, Morocco
Yield: 6 to 8 as an appetizer or first course
While in Morocco in October of 2010, I took a cooking class with the cook of Riad Dar Masouda in Fes. Rabia taught us a few of her favorite dishes, and Zaalouk is one we whipped up together after a trip to the market to gather ingredients. Rabia’s version of Zaalouk is the best I’ve ever encountered.
Ingredients:
3 large eggplants
4 each red and green bell peppers
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 medium tomatoes, halved and grated on the large-holed side of a box grater, see note
8 medium garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press
1 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons sweet paprika 1 tablespoon harissa
1 tablespoon kosher salt, or more to taste
1 medium bunch, about 1/2 cup cilantro, large stems discarded, finely chopped
1 medium bunch, about ½ cup, flat-leaf parsley, large stems discarded, finely chopped
cilantro and/or parsley leaves, for garnish
argan oil or extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
crusty bread or flatbread, for accompaniment
Directions:
Roast the eggplant directly on a gas flame until soft and blackened. Put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. When cool, peel and cut into medium dice.
Roast the red and green bell peppers directly on a gas flame until blackened. Put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. When cool, peel, seed and cut into medium dice.
In a large fry pan, over medium-high heat, add the tomato puree and crushed garlic and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the olive oil, eggplant, peppers, cumin, paprika, harissa and salt. Stir to combine, lower heat to medium, and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the cilantro and parsley and cook another 5 minutes.
Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with argan or olive oil, sprinkle with parsley and/or cilantro leaves, and serve with a crusty loaf of bread or flatbread.
Notes:
To make fresh tomato puree, cut a ripe tomato in half crosswise. Lightly squeeze out the seeds. Grate the tomato on the large holes of a four-sided grater until all you are holding is the skin, which you discard. Voila’, fresh tomato puree!

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