Eggplant is a huge favorite in our Sephardi Cooking. This dish is all roasted, so it is pretty streamlined, and pretty lean. Anything not to have to fry eggplant, which gobbles up oil like crazy! The preserved lemons do make a big difference, so please don’t skip them unless it is Passover and you couldn’t make them in advance. I have provided a super simple recipe, just make it ahead of time so you are sure to always have it on hand.
- 3 medium eggplant, peeled lengthwise (1 strip peeled, 1 strip not peeled: you will get a black and white stripe pattern), cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 3 roasted red peppers, bottled OK, diced small
- 1/3 cup pitted oil-cured or other good quality olives, chopped small
- 1/2 preserved lemon, pulp discarded, peel thoroughly rinsed (Passover: 2 tablespoons lemon zest)
- 5-6 sprigs cilantro
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or a little less to taste
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. line a baking sheet with foil, spray heavily with vegetable spray, arrange the eggplant dice in one layer and spray again. Bake about 20 minutes, until the eggplant is very soft and dark. Transfer to a bowl. Add the roasted peppers and the olives.
In a food processor, finely grind (not allowing to get mushy) the lemon, cilantro and garlic. Add the oil, cumin, red pepper flakes and paprika and pulse just to combine. Add the mixture to the eggplant mixture and combine thoroughly. Serve at room temperature