Rachelle Crocker's Roast Eggplant Zaalouk


2 eggplants (or 5 Chinese eggplants)

2 summer squash or zucchini


Salt (Fancy salts, like Celtic grey or Himalayan pink—any mineral salt tastes best)

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tsp coriander

½ Ancharo chili

½ Arbol chili

    *Any dry peppers you have or find will be great! If you do not have a food processor, mortar and pestle, or coffee grinder, buy previously ground chilies. Like cayenne or, better yet, classic chili powder.

5 nice sprigs of parsley

5/7 sprigs of cilantro

    *basil and oregano are also great in this dish

2/3 clove garlic

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil



To do.

Turn the oven to 350 degrees.  Place eggplants, zucchinis/squash on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Roast for about an hour, or until everything is very soft. You might have to pull some things out before others depending on their sizes i.e. Chinese eggplants are very thin and therefore cook quicker. When the eggplants and squash/zucchinis are done, place them somewhere out of the way, cover them with a towel, and let them cool.

Put a tsp of salt, the coriander, and the chilies in a cast iron pan or frying pan. Toast on medium-low heat, continually stirring the spices around in the pan so they do not burn. You want to do this until you can really smell the toasted aroma of the spice. The amount of time this takes depends on the heat of your stove. A good range is 1-3 minutes.  As soon as you smell the toasted aroma, pull them off the stove and out of the pan so they do not burn. Now, whip out the food processor, mortar and pestle, or coffee grinder (that you don’t mind putting spices in) and blend to a powder. This is mostly to break up the chilies, but it’s also nice to have the salt be super fine. If your chilies were previously powdered, you’re good to go. 

Cut open the eggplants and, using a fork, scrape the entire fruit into a big bowl leaving only the skin. With the Chinese eggplants, you might just want to chop up the whole fruit including the skin. Chop up the roast squash/zucchini, throw them in the bowl. Squeeze in the whole lemon, a tiny pinch of salt, tiny pinch of pepper. Mash it all around with a fork until squash/zucchini and eggplant are all mushed together 

Mince the herbs and garlic, throw them in the bowl. Put half the ground spices in the bowl and the olive oil. Mix in well. Add salt and pepper and the rest of the spices to taste. Cover and set aside until serving. 

It’s nice to make this dish a few hours before serving so all the flavors can set in, but it’s totally not a must.

Have fun making and enjoy!!

Rachelle Crocker

 Photo by Stacy Lanyon

Photo by Stacy Lanyon