Yesterday I had some people over for lunch and one of the things we made was zaalouk, a traditional middle eastern eggplant and tomato dish. It has all but 5 ingredients (not including olive oil and a few spices) and is super easy to make. Feel free to be inspired and add any other types of herbs or spices you like!
Zaalouk Eggplant and Tomato Spread
4 plum tomatoes*
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3-1/2 cup cilantro depending on how much you like it
1/3 cup water
3 garlic cloves
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs paprika
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne if you like some heat
1. Slice the eggplant in half the long way and roast it at 400 until it’s soft (about 30 minutes).
2. Separate the flesh of the eggplant from the skin and rough chop it.
3. Mince the garlic, chop the cilantro and dice the tomatoes.
4. Heat pan with the olive oil. Saute the garlic in the oil for a minute or so and then add the eggplant flesh (discard the skin… or compost it if you’re cool like that), the tomatoes, cilantro, spices and water. Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium.
5. Check on the pan every once in a while to make sure there is enough liquid, you can also stir it around and help mash it together. Leave it covered and cooking for 25-30 minutes.
6. After 25-30 minutes, take off the cover and continue to let the mixture simmer if it is too liquidy. Add lemon juice and any additional salt and pepper.
*I’ve had some people reach out who can’t eat tomatoes. If you’d like to try a version of this without tomatoes, use pureed roasted red peppers.