Oh the flavours of Morocco! And this lovely dish brings a memory of them to the table with the use of Harissa.
Harissa is a wonderful, fiery chilli and capsicum paste from Morocco and other parts of North Africa. Traditionally it is used as a condiment, and added to dishes according to taste. Used in small amounts, it enlivens stir-fries, stocks, sauces and vegetable casseroles, braises etc.
Harissa can be found in good supermarkets or Middle Eastern and North African providores. But it is also easy enough to make your own, with the advantage that you can adjust the heat level to your taste.
The dish itself is easy to make and tastes great with buttery couscous or even quinoa. We made it on a Summery day that was cooler – blessed relief from the intense heat, and a day where we were not afraid to turn the oven on. It takes 40 mins to cook, but can take longer depending on your cookware – we used terracotta and that always takes a bit longer.
For Eggplant dishes with Middle Eastern flavours try Saffron and Rosewater Scented Aubergine, Eggplants, Sultanas and Pinenuts with Yoghurt Dressing, and Fragrant Eggplant with a Garlic Yoghurt Sauce.
Eggplant and Zucchini Baked with Chickpeas and Harissa Sauce
3 Tblspn olive oil
2 medium eggplants, sliced
3 zucchini, sliced
1 small onion, finely sliced
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tblspn harissa paste, or to taste
150 ml vegetable stock or water
1 tspn tomato puree, or 1 Tblspn home made tomato puree
400g cooked or canned chickpeas, drained
225 g couscous
1 Tblspn butter
2 Tblspn parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Heat half of the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the eggplant slices over high heat for 5 minutes until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
Add the remaining oil in the pan and repeat with the zucchini slices.
Place the eggplant and the zucchini in an oven proof dish, interleaving them with the onion slices and tomatoes. Season well.
Mix the harissa paste and the tomato puree with the stock or water, and pour over the eggplant and zucchini slices. Add the chickpeas and stir in gently.
Cover with foil, put into the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 20 – 30 minutes or until the vegetables are meltingly tender.
While the eggplant is cooking, make the couscous. Place it in a large bowl and pour over the water. Leave for 10 minutes until the water is absorbed and fluff with a fork. Chop the butter into small pieces and stir through the couscous. Mix half the parsley through the couscous. Sprinkle the rest over the eggplants and zucchini, and serve.