This richly flavored salad of cooked peppers and tomatoes from the Mahgreb makes a wonderful first course. It also goes well with grilled chicken or fish.
- 41⁄2lb (2 kg) ripe tomatoes
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 5–6 red chile peppers
- 5–6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1 preserved lemon
- 1⁄4 cup chopped parsley
Directions: heat the broiler. Peel, remove the seeds, and chop the tomatoes and cook them gently in the olive oil with salt, pepper, and paprika. Keep the heat low, stir every now and then, and cook till all the water has evaporated and you’ve got a thick sauce that begins to fry in the oil. This can take up to 30 minutes if the tomatoes are watery. Remove from the heat.
While the tomatoes are cooking put the peppers and garlic under the broiler, turning till the skins of the peppers are blackened on all sides and the garlic skins are crisp. The garlic will be ready before the peppers. Let the garlic cool, then squeeze it between your fingers and the cooked puree will pop out. Stir it into the tomatoes. Place the peppers in a plastic bag and let cool.
Peel the peppers, discard the seeds and white ribs, and dice the flesh. Add the peppers, lemon, and parsley to the pan and put this back over very low heat for 10–15 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent sticking. Allow to cool before serving.