Bake the eggplants, peel them and drain the bitter juice for about 2 hours. I had them frozen, I baked them this summer and I had them in the freezer. In Romania you can find frozen eggplants at the store, in our country in Canada people don't eat eggplant like us, so I had to buy and bake…
Peel an onion, finely chop it and heat it in a stainless steel pan with the 250 ml of oil.
Gradually add a little warm water to soften and boil well. We clean the peppers and cut them into thicker slices and then we put them in the pan with the onions and add more water until they are well softened. We put the eggplants in the food processor and chop them well until they become like a paste. turn them over in the pan and mix with the onion and pepper
Put a bay leaf, peppercorns, salt and coriander and mix. When they have boiled for a few minutes, add the broth and let it boil for about 5 minutes, then put them in an enameled pan or yenna dish in the preheated oven at 180. ºC. Leave them in the oven until they drop (approx. 1 hour)
Papam zacusca with great appetite, because it is very good!
Eggplant zacusca ingredient:
- 3 kg. eggplant (choose the ones with black and shiny skin, slightly fluffy to the touch)
- 2 kg. of red peppers, preferably donuts, which are sweeter, but also go with kapia peppers or red bell peppers
- 1 kg. of onions
- 1 liter of tomato broth of suitable consistency (not paste)
- 500 ml. of oil
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper or 1 teaspoon peppercorns
Preparation of eggplant zacusca & # 8211 baking vegetables
1. If, in the case of peppers, they can be used for zacusca and raw, it is not possible to skip the baked eggplant. So this will be the first step: bake the eggplant on the grill, on the disc, on the hob, on whatever is possible. Just come in direct contact with a hot surface or a living flame. It is good to prick the eggplants before baking them to avoid accidents that can occur due to their explosion.
Bake the eggplant all around until the peel is charred in places and the core is soft. The ripe eggplants are removed in a strainer placed on top of a bowl in which to collect the bitter liquid that the ripe eggplants will leave. Cover with a lid, so they will steam and peel more easily. As soon as we can touch them with our hands, we peel them, without using water. I dig them out with a spoon from the shell and put them in a plastic strainer, so that the liquid drains well.
2. Returning to peppers: as I said, it is possible to make zacusca using raw peppers, given by car. In this case, however, it will take longer to cook zacusca. Also, the finished preparation will be harder to digest, containing the indigestible skin of the peppers. My recommendation is to cook the peppers as well, also through direct contact with a hot surface.
As soon as the peppers are cooked (their peel shows traces of carbonization all around) they are removed in a bowl with a lid. Let it steam there until it cools down enough to touch them, then peel them, removing the back and seeds.
Under no circumstances should water be used to clean baked eggplants and peppers. Wash the vegetables before cooking. After that, it is not advisable to come in contact with water because they will lose their good baking taste.
How to prepare ripe vegetables for zacusca
3. In the case of eggplant, the leaking liquid has nothing to look for in any preparation, being bitter. Instead, the liquid left by the baked peppers will be sweet and very tasty, so it can be stored. I do that.
Finely chop the eggplant with a non-metallic object (wood or ceramic), so as not to darken, which would affect the appearance. The peppers are passed through the mincer.
Preparation of zacusca & # 8211 boiling
4. Put the onion through a mincer, just like baked peppers.
5. Put the onion, oil (all at once) and 1 teaspoon of salt in a pot that is placed on the fire (picture 1). Add salt from the beginning to extract the water from the onion. This will cause the onion to simmer, not to fry.
It is good that the pot in which the zacusca is cooked has a thick bottom and does not sit directly on the flame of the stove. I usually put a cast iron stove between the flame and the bottom of the pot.
7. Cook the onion until soft (about 7-8 minutes). Add the finely ground or finely chopped baked peppers (picture 2). Mix well and bring to the boil.
8. Add the chopped eggplant (picture 3).
9. Add the broth, pepper and bay leaves (picture 4). Mix well and reduce the heat. Cover the pot with a lid pulled aside, so that the steam can come out and the pot is covered. During boiling, the zacusca, being viscous, sprinkles everything around, so it is safer to have a lid.
10. Boil for 1 hour, during which time it is checked and mixed carefully every 10 minutes, insisting on the bottom. You can check zacusca even more often. No need to boil more, all the ingredients are already cooked. The peppers are baked, the eggplant as well, the broth boiled. Finally, the zacusca must have a homogeneous, pasty consistency (picture 5). Match the taste with salt and pepper and, if you want to emphasize the natural sweetness of peppers and onions, you can add a tablespoon of sugar.
Zacusca is poured hot into sterilized jars, placed on a metal tray, so as not to crack. About how to prepare jars to preserve food over the winter I wrote more in the recipe for pear compote.
Close the jars with lids or staples checked, not to be deformed or rusted and to close tightly. Also, the lids must be scalded with boiled water. With the tray on which we placed the jars, we now put the zacusca in the preheated oven at 100 ° C for 1 hour. Then turn off the oven and let the jars cool completely in the oven, before storing them in the pantry. Another option would be to place the jars filled with hot zacusca in a nest lined with several layers of thick beds. Wrap them well and let them cool slowly.
Some details about the recipe
Finally, I would like to tell you that the quantities of this recipe are somewhat indicative. I mean, my aunts prepare the same zacusca recipe using 1 liter of oil, which I cut in half. It seemed a lot and useless, and the zacusca came out just as well with less oil. Also, if you expect more acidity from your zacusca, add a little extra broth. Nothing bad will happen, it will only be more bitter. If you have an eggplant in addition to the 3 kilograms indicated, do not leave it orphaned. Put it on too, as it will not adversely affect the recipe.
Also, if your taste feels the need to add to this preparation a spice in addition to the classic ones indicated, do not refrain from doing so. Keep the sense of proportion, however, adding a little, mixing well and tasting the zacusca after each tranche added. My inspiration is a little cumin powder in the zacusca, for example: P, and no one has ever complained.
Eggplant zacuscaServings 8 jars / 1 recommended portion = 100gr.
I think the most beloved & # 8222something good & # 8221 to preserve for the winter is for the Romanians Mashed vegetables. My daughter is in love with zacusca, for several months she has been ordering me not to jump over zacusca this year (as I did last year). And as the will of the offspring is law, of course I made them at will as soon as all the ingredients met at the same time in my pantry, preparing a portion of eggplant zacusca.
Recipe of eggplant zacusca it is the most widespread and one of the most beloved. There are other varieties, such as green or dried bean zacusca and mushroom zacusca, which, I confess, I do not prepare at home, because they do not have much passage.
Well, going back to my zacusca recipe, it's a simple one, I would say it's a classic, I've been preparing it for years and it was prepared by my mother and all my aunts. For a zacusca with spectacular taste, it is essential to use quality ingredients and to give it due attention during preparation.