- 2 large eggplants
- 4 Cuban peppers (cubanelles)
- 3 large tomatoes
- 1 poblano pepper, if desired (poblanos provide a unique and mild spiciness to the dish)
- ½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
- Bread, for serving
Heat grill to medium-high.
Wrap eggplants in aluminum foil and place on grill to cook (or over direct flame on your stove top if not using a grill). As the eggplants soften, turn them over to cook uniformly. Once very soft, transfer to a large bowl and let cool at room temperature.
Meanwhile, place peppers, tomatoes, and poblanos on the grill to cook, turning as soon as the skin turns dark and blistered all around. Once tomatoes start to blister, transfer to a large bowl followed by the peppers when they are charred but not burnt. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to cool.
Once vegetables are cool enough to handle, discard any liquid that collects in the bowls, then use paper towels to peel the skins off the vegetables. (Do not use water as this tends to wash off some of the grilled vegetables’ smokiness) Seed the peppers and dice all the vegetables.
Place olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in cilantro, parsley, paprika, and cumin. Cook for 1 minute. Add diced vegetables and cook until most liquid is evaporated, stirring often.
Season with salt and cayenne, if needed. Continue cooking until the zaalouk has reduced to a paste-like consistency. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature then serve garnished with more cilantro, parsley, and drizzled generously with olive oil.
Zaalouk is enjoyed better with a warm rustic bread such as ciabatta or an olive batard.