Spicy Eggplant Salad (Zaalouk)

Harissa is a very hot chile pepper paste flavored with garlic and spices, much used in North Africa, especially Tunisia. It is available store-bought, or you can make your own. Here is the recipe for Harissa.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Salt
  • 3 large beefsteak tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons argan oil (from Morocco) or hazelnut, sesame, walnut or mild extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon harissa or a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon paprika and a good pinch of ground chile pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. Boil eggplant with garlic in plenty of salted water, in a pan covered with a lid, for about 30 minutes, or until they are very soft.
  2. Drain and chop eggplant and garlic in a colander, then mash with a fork, pressing all the water out.
  3. Put tomatoes in the emptied pan and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until reduced to a thick sauce, stirring occasionally. Mix with mashed eggplant and remaining ingredients, then add salt.

Makes 6 servings.