Who doesn’t love a little savory snack at the bottom of their drink?
Eggplant recipes can often be a bit of a divisive topic. While some people love it and others hate it, there’s no doubt that eggplant plays a big role in food across the globe. And that’s exactly why I’ve launched a new series to experience all the different ways that the world eats eggplant – starting with Morocco.
Across Northern Africa and the Middle East, you’ll find tons of dishes that combine tomatoes and eggplants. However, I guarantee that none of them are quite like this. Zaalouk is a warm salad of eggplant cooked in a spiced tomato sauce that originated in Morocco. The flavors of this dish are so perfectly balanced between the savory cumin and garlic and the freshness of the cilantro, parsley, and lemon juice.
There are also a few ways that you can get creative with Zaalouk. I, for example, lightly sautéed the diced eggplant before cooking it further with the tomato and spices. However, the eggplant can also be baked, charred, or even fried to mix up the flavors and textures of the dish. Depending on your preference, you can also leave the salad chunky, mash until it’s smooth, or even blend if that’s the type of consistency you’d prefer. There are no wrong answers, it seems.
Fayrouz is who we all have to thank for this incredible Zaalouk recipe. Growing up in Marrakesh, Morocco, Zaalouk was a big part of Fayrouz’s childhood. In her family, the dish was served among a smattering of other warm salads, as a side dish for fried fish, tagine, or grilled meats, or as a dip. However, one of her favorite ways to enjoy Zaalouk was spread across a warm baguette for special occasions or something tasty for family outings. For what it’s worth, I fully support all of these Zaalouk eating options.
Zaalouk is just one of those recipes that you can eat again and again. It’s an accessible and comforting dish that can be mixed and matched in a million different ways. Even though it may seem plain and simple, there’s something so special about this Moroccan Eggplant and Tomato Salad.
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