Inspired by Moroccan zaalouk, this cooked eggplant and tomato salad differs from the better-known baba ghanouj with its zingy colour and spicy punch courtesy of paprika, harissa, cumin and lemon. Don’t be afraid to let the eggplant brown—that’s what makes it so sweet and meltingly tender. Top this salad with mint oil to instantly go gourmet.
In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, brown the eggplant in the oil. Lower the heat to medium and continue cooking until the eggplant is very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, harissa, paprika and cumin. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until the mixture has completely softened and the liquid has evaporated. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
In a food processor, purée the mixture until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium-high heat, fry the mint in the oil for 30 seconds or until crisp. Let cool.
When ready to serve, drizzle the mint oil over the eggplant and tomato salad. Serve with homemade pita bread (see recipe). The salad can be enjoyed warm or cold
Grating fresh tomatoes is a quick method of extracting the most flesh and juice possible. We halved the tomatoes horizontally and grated them flesh-side down all the way to the skin.