Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

Last week, I told you all that I bought The Food of Morocco, and have been on a Moroccan food kick. The kick continues today… with this Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce.

There are already a lot of eggplant recipes on this blog, and I know it’s not everyone’s favorite vegetable. This blog post is really more about the sauce, which you could use over fish, grilled meat, or roasted veggies (and don’t stop there). Or, eggplant.

It struck me, while I was adding all of the ingredients for this Charmoula to the blender, that it’s just like so many other herb-based sauces found around the world. It combines oil with an acid (lemon juice), garlic, salt, and pepper, and heaps of herbs. In this case, cilantro and parsley. The process reminded me of making a South American Chimichurri, or the garlicky dipping oil used in Ecuador, or even pesto.

It is not so much their similarity that surprises me, but the idea that diverse people, strung out across the world, all arrived at a similar solution to saucing food. Oil, herbs, garlic. I’m not a historian, though a quick look at the Wiki history of Chimichurri sauce suggests it was brought over by Spanish immigrants. Were all of these sauces another way of making the flavors immigrants were familiar with in a new environment, with new ingredients? Perhaps. (I, by the way, adored this essay on how immigrants assimilate through food).

Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce
Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

The other thing that struck me about Charmoula was it’s flavor, which I found sharper and stronger than chimichurri or pesto. I would probably eat a spoonful of pesto straight. At least, I would definitely lick the spatula. And maybe I would with charmoula as well, but it’s flavor is not as sweet, or creamy — it will wake you up a bit! It’s salty and tart and herbaceous. Which is why it’s a perfect finishing sauce, the final touch on roasted eggplant that wakes it all up. A drizzle over a fillet of fish that brings everything together. The “zing.”

Pulling from Mediterranean flavors, I also added a drizzle of tahini to this eggplant. It’s richness is a good counterpart to charmoula, and the charmoula cuts through the richness of the tahini. Eggplant — we'll, I’d say it’s just the carrying vessel, but others might disagree.

Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

Published March 12, 2019 by
   Print This Recipe

Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



Ingredients:


For the charmoula:
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
  • Dash cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup packed parsley leaves

  • For the eggplant:
  • 2 eggplants
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • For serving: 1/4 cup tahini

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
    2. Slice stem from eggplant and then cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Spread out on a baking sheet (or two) in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt, and allow eggplant to sit for 5-10 minutes. The salt with help reduce bitterness.
    3. Brush eggplant with olive oil. Flip eggplant and brush the second side. Place in oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until eggplant is soft all the way through, and is golden/brown on the edges.
    4. While eggplant cooks, combine all ingredients for charmoula in a food processor or blender, and pulse until a sauce forms. I like my sauce to still have some texture to it, so I stop before everything is puréed, but this is just my preference.
    5. Serve: place roasted eggplant on a plate, and drizzle with several spoonfuls of charmoula and several spoonfuls of tahini. Eat warm.
    6. Note: you will likely have leftover charmoula, which can be used as a sauce for fish, or grilled meats and vegetables.

    Comment

    Red Chili Enchilada Sauce

    Red Chili Enchilada Sauce

    This is a bit of a teaser for what’s to come on Thursday — for simplicity sake, I wanted to break out the instructions for the sauce and another recipe (plus, there are plenty of ways to use this sauce!). And no… enchiladas are not on the docket! (Though that reminds me I should make some enchiladas soon). In any case, my lips are sealed. You’ll see Thursday’s recipe soon enough!

    I first “dared” to make my own enchilada sauce while I was working in a restaurant in college. I was not the saucier, or anything close to it — more like waitress that occasionally helped with some baking - but when I was baking, I would watch the happenings of the kitchen while I slowly stirred a caramel, weighed flours, or chilled dough. It just so happened that my station was right next to the saucier, and that is what gave me the confidence to make this sauce.

    Red Chili Enchilada Sauce

    First, I realized that the marvelous sauce that was used for braising pork was as simple as puréeing some select ingredients in the blender — and then, I realized that said sauce was pretty darn close to enchilada sauce. I did a little bit of reading and next thing you know I was blending enchilada sauce every week (even without the blender lid on one time… but we’ll save that messy story for another time).

    You can use this sauce for oh so many more things than enchiladas (though using it in these leftover turkey enchiladas is perfect). In fact, I started using it to braise beef (Oofta! That recipe is old — please forgive those grainy photos. Oh what a difference three years makes), but now I’m much more into making enchilada casseroles or huevos rancheros with salsa rojo.

    Sauce is the start of many a great dish. More sauce! If any of you have ever watched Chopped, you know the judges are always talking about sauce, and with good reason. 😋

    Red Chili Enchilada Sauce

    Red Chili Enchilada Sauce

    Published September 25, 2018 by
       Print This Recipe

    Serves: 2 cups   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 sixteen-oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup broth (chicken, beef or veggie)
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper

  • Directions:

    1. Heat coconut oil over medium-high heat in a skillet on the stove. When the oil glistens, add onion and garlic and sauté until onions are transparent and starting to brown. Remove from heat.
    2. In a blender (I use a Blendtec - affiliate link!), combine onions and garlic, diced tomatoes, broth, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Secure lid on blender and purée.
    3. Use sauce immediately or store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

    2 Comments

    Mushroom & Artichoke Chicken Fricassee

    Mushroom & Artichoke Chicken Fricassee

    This chicken fricassee is a “Helloooo, spring,” kind of dish. It’s made with artichokes—a quintessential mark of the growing season to me. 

    Fricassee is a rich dish, where meat is braised with white wine and usually cream. In this version, chicken tenderloins are seared first, giving them flavor and shortening overall cooking time. 

    Mushroom & Artichoke Chicken Fricassee
    Mushroom & Artichoke Chicken Fricassee

    This time of year we’re stuck in limbo between soup season and grilling season, when you crave fresh flavors but warm dishes at the same time. Fricassee is definitely warming -- that sauce is no joke. But the addition of artichokes, mushrooms and a generous sprinkle of parsley on top keeps it feeling lighter than if you were to use winter veggies (potatoes or other root veggies… though that would be delicious too).  Wonderful on a rainy day in March!

    Because of its creamy sauce, fricassee is really good served over something like rice or mashed cauliflower... anything to soak up the creaminess! 

    The whole thing is cooked on the stove and will be ready in 30 minutes. If you plan on making rice or mash cauliflower to go with it, get it going just as you’re starting to make the Fricassee so that it’s all ready at once and you don’t have to spend any more time in the kitchen than necessary!

    Happy Spring! 

    Mushroom & Artichoke Chicken Fricassee

    Mushroom & Artichoke Chicken Fricassee

    Published March 27, 2018 by
       |     Print This Recipe

    Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or other cooking oil
    • 1 pound chicken tenderloins
    • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 cup white wine
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, quarters and strained
    • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/4 cup minced parsley

    Directions:

    1. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in the bottom of a skillet over medium heat (I used my 5-qt Le Creuset Braiser (affiliate link!)). When the oil glistens, place the chicken in the pan. Cook on the first side for 5 minutes, until the bottom of each piece turns golden. Then flip, and cook 5 minutes on the opposite side. Use tongs or a spatula to move chicken to a plate and set aside.
    2. Add second tablespoon of coconut oil to the pan. Once melted, add the sliced mushrooms and minced garlic. Sauté, until the mushrooms are softened through.
    3. Now, pour the wine and broth into the pan. Bring the liquid to a simmer, and using a wooden spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan a few times to deglaze the pan.
    4. Next, add the chicken back into the pan, along with the artichokes. Add mustard, salt, and pepper, and stir until incorporated. Turn off the heat, and pour in the cream, stirring into the sauce.
    5. Finally, garnish with parsley and serve hot.

    Comment