A spicy aubergine dip with halloumi and a vegetarian take over the two countries signature pie
At least once a day this winter I have found myself mentally wandering the street of Marrakech. There is something about it that I crave on gray-headed, wintertime periods; there is something warm and generous about Morocco, tones shaped obvious by its food. The free-handed use of warming spice, the liberal use of sweetness in savoury bowls, the overflowing flavours.
This week I attained two things I have desired eating there the most: zaalouk, a cousin of baba ganoush; and a sweet-potato pastilla- a messy, heady, spiced filo tart. And now I’m off to search for flights.
Spiced aubergines with halloumi( zaalouk- portrait above)
Half dip, half salad, and Morocco’s answer to baba ganoush. I eat this as a meal with grilled halloumi( as I show here ), some flatbreads and a good green salad, but it would be brilliant as one of the purposes of a meze or starter. Vegans could use firm tofu in place of the halloumi, or just leave it out. Thanks to my friend, the cook and writer John Gregory Smith, for the inspiration.
Prep 5 min
Cook 30 min
600 g tomatoes
1 pinch cumin seeds
1 pinch smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves , peeled and finely chopped
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
200 g halloumi , slicedlengthways
Blacken the aubergines all over, either under a red-hot grill on a foil-lined tray, or by turning them with tongs over a ignite gas hob. Make sure they char entirely, then left open to cool so that the skin comes away from the flesh.
For an authentic finish, peel the tomatoes( though I sometimes skip this stair if I am in a hurry ): score a cross in the base of the fruit, then handle them with just-boiled ocean. Leave for 30 seconds to a minute, then drainage and cool slightly before peeling off the skin. Chop finely.
Heat the spices in a frying pan until fragrant. Add the petroleum, tomatoes and garlic, season well and fry for a few minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down. Stir through the tomato puree, vinegar and carbohydrate, then squeeze the body from the charred aubergine into the tomatoes. Simmer for 20 times, until coagulated slightly.
Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan over a high hot. Cook the halloumi on it for two minutes on each side, then s. Provide it on top of the warm plunge. Drizzle with extra-virgin petroleum, and scoop it all up with warm flatbreads.
Sweet potato and feta pastilla
I use a frying pan for this to ensure the bottom of the pastilla crisp up. Deter the filo sheets in the fridge until required, or under a damp tea towel, to stop them drying out. Vegans could use a vegan-friendly filo( which many of the supermarket brands are ): supersede the butter with a vegan spread and leave out the feta( or switch to a vegan cheese ).