Smoky aubergine salad

I grew up eating this with my mum’s home-made Moroccan bread, kefta (meat patties) and sometimes a few squeezes of tomato ketchup. It’s my favourite salad-dip hybrid in the entire world and one of the most iconic Moroccan dishes. Every region and family has its own way of cooking it: I like mine creamy, spicy and smoky, hence the inclusion of smoked paprika with the more traditional seasonings. Serve it with grilled meat or fish, or as a spread in a sandwich.

Matt Russell

SERVES 4

4 tbsp olive oil
2 large aubergines (500g), peeled and chopped into
3cm chunks
4 tomatoes (400g), deseeded and chopped into 3cm chunks
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, plus extra leaves to garnish
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tbsp clear honey
1 tsp smoked paprika
¾ tsp salt, or more to taste
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste (optional)
good bread to serve optional

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and add all the ingredients except the bread, if using. Cover the pan and cook over a medium-low heat for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally to make sure that they don’t stick to the base of the pan.
2. Uncover the pan and crush the vegetables with a potato masher, then leave to cook for about 5 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt if necessary.
3. Serve warm or cold, garnished with a sprinkling of coriander, as a side, dip or spread on good bread (try the recipe for khobz – everyday bread – in my book).

SAVE 25% ON NARGISSE’S NEW BOOK

Casablanca: My Moroccan Food will be published by Mitchell Beazley, price £20. It’s the delicious, inspiring debut from Nargisse Benkabbou, named a rising food star for 2018. Rooted in traditional Moroccan cuisine, the recipes celebrate Nargisse’s heritage and authentic Moroccan spirit while being accessible for modern home cooks. As well as loads of pantry wisdom and easy, essential Moroccan basics, chapters cover starters to share, vegetarian dishes, meat, poultry, seafood, breads and sweets. To order a copy for £15 (a 25 per cent discount) until 13 May visit mailshop.co.uk/books, or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.