There are numerous Mediterranean pepper, onion, and tomato medleys. This one, called marmouma, of Tunisian-Jewish origin, is often confused with French ratatouille or North African chachouka. Actually, chachouka never contains eggplant or zucchini, while ratatouille does.
The slower you cook the vegetables here, the more caramelization will develop on the bottom of the pan. The more often you fold these caramelized bits and pieces back into the vegetables, the more delicious your marmouma will become.
This is a good dish to cook in an electric skillet, where it's easy to control the temperature and from which moisture can steadily evaporate while the vegetables caramelize. If you cook in a large ordinary skillet, be sure to use a heavy one to keep the temperature uniformly low. Be careful, as there is a fine line between caramelizing and burning. Too much browning, and the dish will turn bitter.
Marmouma should be refrigerated at least overnight before serving. It will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator, improving as it mellows. Serve as one of a trio of North African salads, or simply smeared on toasted bread.
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert. Copyright © 2003 by Paula Wolfert. Photographs copyright © by Christopher Hirsheimer. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.