Zaalouk is an undeniably delicious cooked Moroccan salad of eggplant and tomatoes. This salad, often served as a side, is simple and fresh but the use of pungent spices as well as the nutty, nutrient packed argan oil meld to create a memorable culinary experience. Although meaty and tender, the eggplant is a blank slate. It takes on the tastes of the other flavor components and all those flavors combined with juicy tomato, garlic, and fresh herbs yield a salad that will keep you wanting more. The secret to getting the salad just right is roasting the eggplant with a drizzle of argan oil so it develops those lovely toasty notes.
• 1 large eggplant
• 5 medium sized tomatoes, peeled and diced
• 3 garlic cloves, minced and crushed with a fork
• 1 handful fresh chopped parsley
• 1 handful fresh chopped cilantro
• ½ cup reduced sodium vegetable broth
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• ½ tablespoon paprika
• ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
• Food grade/culinary argan oil
• Pinch of cinnamon
• Juice of 1 lemon
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
• Line a baking sheet with foil.
• Wash the eggplant, pat dry, and peel.
• Cut the eggplant into cubes and transfer to the baking sheet.
• Lightly drizzle with argan oil and toss.
• Season with a little salt and pepper.
• Roast in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until tender and golden.
• Remove from the oven and set aside.
• Drizzle a tablespoon of argan oil into a large skillet. Heat over medium-high.
• Add the garlic and cook while stirring until fragrant.
• Add the eggplant as well as the tomatoes.
• Pour in the vegetable broth followed by the cumin, paprika, cayenne, and cinnamon.
• Use a wooden spoon to break down the eggplant and tomato.
• Cover and leave to simmer over medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent it from burning on the bottom.
• Uncover and continue to break up the eggplant and tomato. Zaalouk should have a mashed consistency.
• Leave to simmer uncovered for an additional 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally.
• Remove from the heat, add the fresh herbs and lemon juice.
• Stir and adjust seasonings if desired.
Although served as a side, this salad can be a main course as well. Be sure to finish each serving with a light drizzle of argan oil for added flavor.