Makhouda D’Aubergine from The Traveler’s Lunchbox

This dish is one I came across on one of my favourite blogs, The Traveler’s Lunchbox, in which this is described as a Tunisian Eggplant Frittata.  The recipe is originally from Kitty Morse’s North Africa: The Vegetarian Table.

Now I do not love eggs, I think they’re great for baking with, but when it comes to breakfast, no matter how they are served, I simply cannot have them so I also don’t eat quiches or frittatas…ever.  But I love eggplant (ever since I was old enough to contemplate that eggplant was entirely unrelated to egg – as a child my parents could only convince me to eat it if it was called Aubergine), so here we are with this Makhouda D’Aubergine in my terrible little electric oven and I am excited! I’ve made a couple changes due to lack/want of ingredients.  This dish is suggested as a side to tagines, but I intend to call it a meal given the effort that went into making it. Verdict is it’s delicious, eggs and all.

1 large eggplant
salt for sprinkling
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and diced
8 large eggs
a handful (about 1/2 cup packed) chopped fresh parsley or coriander/cilantro leaves, or a mixture
(I used parsley)
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz (225g) gruy
ère cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup (50g) dried bread crumbs
1 teaspoon bharat (Tunisian spice blend; you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon rosewater)
(I used the pepper and the cinnamon alone)
about 3/4 teaspoon fine salt

harissa (North African hot pepper paste) or cayenne pepper, to taste (optional) (I added a seeded and minced serrano pepper)
lemon wedges 

Peel and cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch dice. Sprinkle generously with salt and place the cubes in a colander to drain for about 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and cook the eggplant, onion, and pepper, stirring occasionally until golden and soft, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer this mixture to a colander to drain off as much of the oil as possible.

In a medium bowl, mix the eggs and add the herbs, garlic, cheese and bread crumbs. Add the eggplant mixture. Season with the bharat, salt, and a small spoonful of the optional harissa or cayenne pepper, (and the serrano if you want the extra heat).

Grease a 2-quart soufflé dish (I don’t own one and used glass cookware instead). Pour the egg mixture into the dish and bake in the middle of the oven until golden brown and puffed in the center, 40-45 minutes (a knife inserted into the center should come out clean). Let cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto a serving platter (you can also just leave it in the dish). Cut into wedges or squares to serve. Serve hot or at room temperature with lemon wedges on the side.

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