Thursday, March 19, 2009

Moroccan Eggplant Salad

This Sephardic classic is always a major favorite on our seder table. I roast the eggplant on baking sheets instead of the more traditional (but unwieldy) pan-frying, and liberally apply ras el hanout from Sahadi's.

2 large eggplants
2 tablespons kosher salt
vegetable oil
1 small can tomato paste
2-3 cloves of garlic, mashed to a paste
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Harissa or dried red pepper flakes, to taste
1 tablespoon ras el hanout
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Cut the eggplants in quarters, lengthwise and slice each long piece into 1/2 inch half slices cross-wise. Salt the slices and let sit in a strainer overnight. The next day, pat dry and spread out on a couple of sheet pans. Coat the slices lightly with vegetable oil and roast at 400 degrees until browned, turning once and making sure not to burn the slices. This can take anywhere from 15 - 25 minutes, depending on the weight and color of the pans and the oven.

(The recipe can be made up to this point a day before serving.)
Mix together the tomato paste, garlic, lemon juice, spices, and half of the chopped cilantro in a serving bowl. Add the eggplant slices, coating them with the tomato mixture. Garnish with the remaining chopped cilantro. Serve at room temperature. Serves 6

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