[When it comes to Moroccan dishes, there is hardly anyone who can come up to the level of Lévana Kirschenbaum. If you get the impression that The Kosher Scene looks up to her, well… having attended so many of her Monday night cooking demos, we truly do! Last Friday we posted 3 recipes for Shakshouka, frankly, that series could not possibly be complete without Lévana’s take on the subject. CS]
Cooked tomato salad: Matbukha
Gluten Free, Pareve
This is one of our Moroccan favorite dishes, a sort of comfort food for ex-pats and honorary Sephardis alike: See how they mop that sauce with their bread! Shakshuka is nothing more than Matbukha with eggs scrambled into it and served as a main course, and gets its funny name from the Arabic word for “scramble.” Sometimes tomatoes get too expensive; in this case, it would be OK to use canned diced tomatoes.
- 1 whole head garlic
- 2 red bell peppers, washed, cored, and seeded
- 2–3 jalapeño peppers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large beefsteak tomatoes, or 8 plum tomatoes, diced small (settle for 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, liquid and all)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Slice about ¼ inch off the pointed end of the head of garlic, leaving the cloves exposed.
- Drizzle the olive oil onto the garlic and the peppers, place them on a cookie sheet, and roast for 30 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and the peppers are charred (the peppers might be ready a few minutes before the garlic).
- Press the cloves out of their skins while still warm and mash with a fork.
- Peel the peppers and cut them into thin strips.
- In a heavy wide-bottom pot, bring the tomatoes, oil, and paprika to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the roasted garlic and peppers, and cook covered for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. All of the water should evaporate, and the oil will resurface (if you neglect this step, you will not get the desired look and texture but a glorified tomato sauce).
- Add the freshly minced garlic and the salt and pepper to taste.
- Let cool and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Use a slotted spoon to serve so the oil stays behind. This will keep for up to two weeks.
Gluten Free, Pareve
Stir 8 eggs into the Matbukha, mixing thoroughly with a wooden spoon, and cook just a few more minutes until the eggs are barely set. If you would rather end up with a more pristine look, leave the eggs whole, break them one by one, and set them over the mixture, close but not touching, and cook covered on a low flame until they look barely set.
Serve hot, alone, or with a good whole-grain bread, or on a bed of cooked (canned OK) white beans (except on Passover!).
Makes 8 servings.