My Dear Readers,
I have something very special for you. I will share my top secret dinner party weapon, my go to dish to impress, my prize moroccan eggplant zaalouk recipe. This is the dish, second only to maybe my risotto, that I get asked about most often. It’s unique, flavorful, and most important, extremely simple to make. It can be served as either an appetizer or a main course and even goes well as a dip.
You and I have a couple of people to thank before we get to the good stuff. First, to my aunt Wendy who introduced me to the concept of Zaalouk and who inspired me to add a dash of cinnamon to the recipe. Second, to Matthew for inspiring me to share this recipe with the world.
All I expect of you lovely friends in exchange for my not so secret recipe is that you spread the eggplant love and never undercook another eggplant dish.
And to you notorious eggplant haters, prepare to, in my roommate’s words, have your socks rocked.
And now for the dish to spice up your social life….
Moroccan Eggplant Zaalouk
- 1 Large Italian Eggplant
- 1 Onion (Vidalia)
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled and finally chopped or pressed
- 5 medium super sweet ripe tomatoes chopped (you can also substitute canned, tomato paste, or even tomato sauce in a pinch)
- 3 tbs tomato paste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Tbs cumin ( I sometimes add more at the end, because I’m a huge cumin fan)
- 2 Tsp Paprika
- 2 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Cayenne pepper- Optional- For those that like a bit of heat
- Dash of cinnamon
- Squeeze of lemon
- Fresh cilantro (for garnish)
- 1/2 cup 2% Greek Yogurt (I like Fage)
Preheat oven to bake at 400 degrees F.
Prepare your ingredients. Chop eggplant into small cubes approximately 1 inch or smaller. The bigger your cubes the longer the cooking time. Dice onion. Chop your tomatoes into chunks.
In a large glass pan, toss Eggplant, onion, and garlic with olive oil using your hands until all veggies are coated lightly with oil. Add tomatoes and tomato paste (or tomato sauce) and mix. Add salt and spices and mix until spices are spread evenly into veggies.
Cover pan with tin foil and cook in oven for approximately an hour mixing every half an hour and adding more spice to taste. Remove tin foil and cook for another half hour. Cooking time will vary depending on how fine you chopped your eggplant. You know your zaalouk is done when the eggplant is a nice light brown color with no trace of white and is soft and almost mushy.
Top with lemon juice and chopped fresh cilantro. Serve on a large serving dish with thick low fat greek yogurt.