TUNISIAN SALAD WITH CARAWAY SEED AND MINT
Jekka's Herb Cookbook
by Jekka McVicar
A warm aromatic salad that is great to serve either as a starter with a little toasted pita bread or as a main course. Caraway seed and mint is a classic Middle Eastern combination; anise and mint are both good for the digestion.
Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a starter
• 1 lb (450 g) eggplant
• 4 tbsp (60 ml) olive oil, divided
• 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
• 1½ lbs (700 g) green or red bell peppers, halved and seeded
• Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1½ tbsp (22 ml) roughly chopped canned or marinated fresh anchovies
• 1 tsp (5 ml) caraway seeds
• 3 large green chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
• 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
• 1 tbsp (15 ml) small capers
• 2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped mint (use spearmint, not peppermint)
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Wash and dry the eggplant, rub 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the oil over the skin and place it, whole, in a roasting pan. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Add the garlic cloves, bell peppers and 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the oil to the eggplant in the roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 30 minutes.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven and cool, then skin and roughly chop the bell peppers, garlic and eggplant. Return all the vegetables to the roasting pan, then add the anchovies, caraway seeds, chopped chile peppers, lemon juice, capers and the remaining oil. Season, then mix well and cook, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated. Place in a serving dish, sprinkle with chopped mint and serve at room temperature.
This salad can be kept for a few days in the fridge. Before serving, remove it from the fridge and leave at room temperature for a minimum of 40 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.