Like many Moroccan salads, this super-silky and intensely flavored version of ratatouille is made from spiced or sweetened cooked vegetables that are mashed rather than cut into pieces. Like Italian antipasti, Moroccan salads are often served as an appetizer.
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2 pounds small eggplants—peeled, quartered lengthwise, then halved crosswise
6 medium garlic cloves, halved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
One 28-ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juices reserved
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
In a large saucepan fitted with a large steamer basket, bring 1/2 inch of water to a simmer. Add the eggplant and garlic to the steamer. Cover the saucepan and steam the eggplant over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices along with the cilantro, cumin, paprika and crushed red pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.
Drain the steamed eggplant and garlic in a colander, pressing gently to extract any excess water. Transfer to a bowl and finely mash the garlic and coarsely mash the eggplant with a fork, then scrape them both into the tomato sauce. Add the fresh lemon juice and simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Season the eggplant with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve the eggplant salad at room temperature or lightly chilled.
The eggplant salad can be prepared early in the day and stored in an airtight container at room temperature or refrigerated.