Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tunisian Eggplant Salad

I'm always looking out for new ways of presenting vegetables, while we may find different ways to present the "protein" part of the meal, the vegetables seem to stay the same.

I've mentioned before about my difficult relationship with eggplant, so when I saw this Delia Smith recipe for Tunisian inspired eggplant salad I knew that this could be a dish that would sway the eggplant-phobic.

The original recipes calls for salting of the eggplant - unless you've got a really old eggplant that shouldn't be necessary. I think it's one of things that might have been necessary in the past when our produce wasn't as fresh as it is today. To make sure you get the freshest eggplant, choose one that has a glossy skin and is firm and well weighted for it's size. Check the calyx or cap - it should be green and not brown and shrivelled.

salad

Tunisian Eggplant Salad

400 grams eggplant
400 grams tomatoes
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 medium sized onion, sliced finely
1 red chilli, sliced finely
2 cloves garlic, sliced finely
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil
fresh coriander and fresh mint, extra
yoghurt, to garnish

Prepare Tomatoes:
Cut a cross in the base of the tomatoes and place them into a bowl. Pour over boiling water and let them sit for about a minute or until you see the skin begin lifting.
Take them out and peel off the tomato skin. Slice in half, then toss in a little olive oil before placing them, cut side up on a lined baking tray.

Prepare Eggplant:
Slice off the cap, then cut, lengthways into 1cm slices. Cut these slices again to form roughly 1cm cubes - you don't need to be exact. Toss this in some oil and spread out on a lined baking tray.

Place both the tomatoes and eggplant into a preheated 180°C/350°F oven. Cook until the eggplants are golden brown and the tomatoes have softened - approximately 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly before roughly dicing the tomatoes - this should be a small dice, make sure you keep all the tomato juices and pulp.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and chilli and sauté - you need to keep an eye on them as you don't want them to burn - you want them to slowly gain a little colour. After a couple of minutes add the ground cumin and allspice - stir this well. When you can smell the spices rising from the pan add the tomatoes and eggplant. Mix this well before adding the fresh coriander and mint. Grind over with a little salt and pepper to taste.

Set this aside to cool before serving. You can also leave this overnight to allow the flavours to develop - cover it and store it in the fridge. Just remember to bring it back to room temperature before you serve it.

salad

This can be served to accompany a main dish or as it's pictured here, it can be first course. I've used ring moulds and pressed the salad into them - before topping it with a quenelle of sheep's milk yoghurt and a garnish of fresh mint and coriander leaves. You would serve this with flat-bread.

salad

If you have any leftover, it's excellent as a sandwich filling too!

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14 comments:

  1. I would love to try this!

    Paz

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  2. This sounds great. I make a similar salad but next time I'm going to try allspice, mint and corriander.

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  3. Hi Paz - it's really tasty and naturally enough you can vary the spice to suit your own tastes

    Thanks Susan - the fresh mint is lovely component and works so well with the fresh chilli

    Thanks Nabeela!

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  4. Looks great to me. I'm not that experienced with cooking with eggplant, but I do like it a lot.

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  5. Thanks Kalyn - this really is one to try - eat it cold, eat it warm, let it sit overnight and the flavours are even more developed - best of all, it's really simple to do

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  6. beautiful picture...can't wait to give it a try...

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  7. This seems like an original way of presenting vegetables, and I'm so glad that you picked up on it (I'm trying very hard to get my partner to like aubergines...he's been very resistant!). Your presentation is quite fab, too. I'm definitely going to make it - and soon, while the aubergines are still at the food markets here in LA.
    Great job!

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  8. Thanks Phoenikia - I hope you enjoy as much as we did - do let me know how it turns out

    Thanks Shaun - this could well be the dish to convert your partner, there's a lovely level of spice and lots of different textures - I'd love to know if it does the trick!

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  9. I'm back! Just letting you know that I am spotlighting this recipe as one of my South Beach Recipes of the Week where I feature SB friendly recipes from other food blogs. It includes your photo (with a photo credit for you, of course) and a link back to the recipe. Looks fantastic!

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  10. Thanks Kalyn - how nice of you to pick this recipe!

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  11. Tried this tonight... an absolute winner, easy and a great mix of flavors. Next time I will make a larger batch so there is some left to see what it's like the next day! Thanks.

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  12. Thanks - glad to hear!

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  13. I made this tonight - SPECTACULAR flavor and aroma. Nice recipe!

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