Tagine is one of Morocco's most famous dishes. I had it at least once a day during my trip, which could have been a bit monotonous, had it not been for the fact that there are tons of different varieties.
The name 'tagine' refers to both the dish and the earthenware pot in which it's cooked. The conical shape of the lid is designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. When the water is turned into vapour during cooking, it condenses on the inside of the lid and runs down to the edges of the bottom, and not dripping on the ingredients. Because of that, they bake and brown instead of being cooked in liquid.
If you don't have a tagine, you can still make this recipe in any ovenproof dish with a lid. The effect won't be exactly the same, but it will be delicious. Tagine is traditionally cooked over hot charcoal, but we can use a stovetop or an oven. We'll cook it over low heat - slow cooking allows the tomato sauce to caramelize and reach a full flavour.
Recipe: Lemon tagine with eggplant
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic clove
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
3-4 hot peppers
2 tso ras el hanout
2 tsp harrisa
one piece cinnamon
5-6 cardamom seeds
3-4 preserved lemons
juice of one lemon
250 ml tomato passata
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Slice onion and garlic, cut the eggplant into large chunks.
Heat one tbsp of coconut oil in your tagging (or, if you don’t have one, any other ovenproof dish).
Brown the eggplant chunks so that they’re golden on all sides, but not yet soft in the middle.
Heat another spoon of coconut oil.
Brown onion and garlic over medium heat.
Add ras el hanout, harissa and whole chilli peppers.
Fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring.
Add remaining ingredients: browned eggplant, tomato passata, preserved onions (cut into halves or quarters), lemon juice, honey, cinnamon and cardamom.
Cover and place in the oven.
Cook in the oven for 2 - 2,5 hours, gently stirring every 45 minutes.
I have deep respect for eggplants. Can you think of any other edible item in such a deep shade of purple?
If there's anything better than eggplant, it's baby eggplant. But I'm a fan of miniature versions of pretty much everything. Baby eggplants make a perfect starter - all you have to do is roast them, maybe adding a bit of spicy green paste.
Recipe: Roasted Baby Eggplants
5 baby eggplants
one tbsp. of olive oil
Score the bottoms of each eggplant with an “X”, about 2/3 through.
Stuff eggplants with green paste and place them on an oiled baking sheet.
Roast at 180C until the eggplants have softened (about 25 minutes).
Ratatouille is a Provençal vegetable stew, originating in Nice. As it is often the case with traditional dishes, there is much debate on how to prepare ratatouille. The simplest method is sautéing all the vegetables together in a large pot. Some cooks insist on cooking the vegetables separately in order to enhance their individual flavours. Eggplants and courgettes are sautéed and tomatoes, bell peppers and onion are made into a sauce. Vegetables and sauce are then cooked together or baked as a casserole.
My recipe resembles confit byaldi - a contemporary version of ratatouille, invented by French chef, Michela Guérarda. Guérard is the creator of cuisine minceur, a cooking style which creates lighter version of French classics. In his confit byaldi vegetables are cut into thin slices and baked without frying. The dish was popluarized owing to an American chef, Thomas Keller, famous for his Michelin three-star restaurant, The French Laundry in California. Keller was a consultant for the animated Ratatouille and it is his version of the dish that we can see in the film. Keller's variation of Guérard's dish added two sauces Basque piperade made with tomatoes, green bell pepper and onion and balsamic vinaigrette.
Regardless of how you choose to prepare it, ratatouille is going to be delicious.
Recipe: Roasted ratatouille
one yellow bell onion
one red onion
2 large tomatoes
one can of chopped tomatoes
a few branches of fresh thyme
one tsp. of brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
one tbsp. of olive oil
Thinly slice all the vegetables.
Spread tomatoes over the bottom of a baking dish. Season with sugar, salt and pepper.
Arrange vegetable slices concentrically on top of tomatoes.
Drizzle with olive oil, top with fresh thyme, season with salt and pepper.
Roast at 180C for about 45 minutes.
Serve as a side or as a main with fresh baguette.
Możecie podawać jako dodatek do dania głównego albo jako samodzielne danie, np. ze świeżą bagietką.
The taste improves with age overnight in the refrigerator.