Zaalouk

Enjoy a delicious dish with Sophie Grigson's simple recipe for a tasty, pan-fried aubergine salad flavoured with spices
By Sophie Grigson
Zaalouk
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 30 mins to 1 hr salting
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

Main

  • 1 kg aubergines
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • half tsp cayenne pepper
  • juice of half a lemons
  • black pepper

To serve:

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sprigs parsley

Method

1. Cut the stem end off the aubergines, then, with a vegetable peeler, or a small sharp knife, take off strips of skin, from stem to tip, about 1.5cm, at roughly 2.5cm intervals, to leave prettily striped aubergines.

2. Cut the aubergine into 1 cm thick slices, and then into 2.5cm squares. Spread them out in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for half an hour to 1 hour, rinse and pat dry.

3. Heat the olive oil in one extra-large frying-pan, or two normal-sized frying pans. Fry the diced aubergine until browned and very tender, adding a dash more oil if necessary.

4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked aubergine out of the pan and into a big bowl. Mash the aubergines with a fork or a potato masher, then add the tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, garlic, paprika, cumin and cayenne, and mix well, mashing everything together as you do.

5. Reheat the residual olive oil in the frying pan, and add the aubergine mixture. Fry, stirring constantly, for some 10-12 minutes, until the mixture is extremely thick. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

6. Serve warm or at room temperature. Spread the mixture out thickly on a plate, then drizzle with a little extra olive oil, and garnish with a sprig or two of parsley, if you like.

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