Twin Springs Fruit Farm

Eggplant Zaalouk

Eggplant Zaalouk
  • 2 TSFF fresh little eggplants (about 12 ounces each)
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, remember to crush or press ahead of time. (Sorry TSFF is out of cloves, but this week we have Green Garlic which may be chopped and used in place of cloves.
  • 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt, or more as needed
  • 5½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces peeled, seeded and finely chopped TSFF tomatoes
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin, toasted (see NOTE)
  • ½ teaspoon sweet Spanish smoked paprika (dulce pimenton)
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • Juice of ½ lemon
NOTE: I use whole spices whenever possible, and grind them in an old electric coffee grinder. I also date new jars so that after a certain point I will know to replace them, due to age.
For cumin I always toast the seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Cool, and then grind before using.
  1. Position an oven rack 6 inches from the broiling element; preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then lightly grease with cooking oil spray.
  2. Cut the eggplants in half and place them cut sides down on the baking sheet. Broil for about 20 minutes or until blackened and collapsed. Transfer the eggplants to a colander to cool slightly, then scoop out the flesh and let it drain in the colander. Squeeze gently to extract more juices.
  3. Use the flat side of a chef's knife to crush the garlic (to taste), or process in a garlic press. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the salt and mash to form a paste.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in an enameled cast-iron pan, over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the tomatoes, salted garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have thickened into a sauce and most of the moisture in the pot has evaporated.
  5. Add the eggplant flesh, using the back of a spoon or fork to crush any big lumps. Stir in the cilantro and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, to form a mixture that is thick yet not dry. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  6. Fold in the lemon juice and the remaining 2½ tablespoons oil. Taste and add more salt, as needed.