I know little of the foods of North Africa, so when I saw Chef Zouhair Zairi‘s new book Moorish Fusion Cuisine, I was instantly interested. His book is filled with mouthwatering dishes (around 70) all made with the best and the rarest of ingredients (such as 50-year old Balsamic vinegar and Argan oil). Chef Zairi was inspired by the Moors’ legacy during what was probably the apogee of Islamic civilization as well as by his experience living and working all over the globe.
This dish is a home-style eggplant salad from his mother’s and grandmother’s.
What can I say, besides yogurt, Arab food is about eggplant too!
Recipe adapted from Moorish Fusion Cuisine (Chef Zouhair Zairi)
- 2 eggplants, peeled and cubed
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped and mashed in a mortar
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 Tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
- juice 1/2 lemon
- salt, black pepper
- Peel and cut eggplant in cubes; steam eggplant cubes. NOTE: I blackened the eggplant on the stove with the skin on and when the skin was charred all around, set it on a colander, peeled it and drain it.
- Mash eggplant.
- Heat olive oil and fry onion then garlic till soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, eggplant, cumin, paprika; cook over gentle heat till liquid evaporates.
- Add cilantro, salt ,pepper and stir in lemon juice
- Serve with flatbread and olives (best at room temperature).