Moroccan Eggplant Jam with Tomatoes and Lemon

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    6 to 8

    ; makes 2 to 3 cups

Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

Moroccans can turn every vegetable into a rich and thick luscious preserve to be served as an appetizer-salad. This eggplant spread called zaalouk, cooked down with tomatoes and seasoned with lemon, paprika, and cumin, in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Serve with pita bread or other flatbread.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants, about 1 pound each
  • Coarse salt
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 1 can (28 ounces) Italian plum tomatoes, drained
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed with ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon imported sweet paprika
  • Pinches of ground cumin
  • Pinches of crushed hot red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Method

  1. At least 1 day in advance, remove the top of each eggplant and discard. Remove 3 vertical strips of skin from each eggplant, leaving it striped; then cut the eggplant crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices. Soak the eggplant in cold salted water to cover (2 tablespoons salt to 1 quart water) for 30 minutes, or until the eggplant leaches brown juices. Rinse the eggplant slices, drain, and pat dry before frying.
  2. Pour ½ inch of olive oil into a large cast-iron skillet. Slowly heat it until hot but not smoking. Fry the slices in batches a few at a time over high heat until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. When the eggplant is cooked, strain the oil. Return ¼ cup to the skillet and reheat.
  3. Add the tomatoes and a pinch of sugar and fry them over medium-low heat for a few minutes, stirring often to avoid burning. Fold in the slices of eggplant with the garlic and mash to a puree. Continue to fry the eggplant and tomatoes in the oil stirring to avoid scorching, until all liquid evaporates and there is only oil and vegetable left.
  4. Pour off the oil. Stir in the paprika, cumin, hot pepper, and lemon juice and let cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature.