I lived in Tunisia until I was fourteen, and as a Tunisian some of the smells I love the most are those of Jasmine flower, tasty Tunisian food and the sea. Oh, how happy the smell of grilled peppers would make when I’d come home from school. I still remember how our dearest nanny, Zohra, would have fingers which seemed resistant to the highest temperatures as she grilled the peppers and other vegetables over the flame of our gas stove, to prepare one of the nicest Tunisian dishes. Slata Mechouia means “grilled salad”, as one grills the vegetables over an open flame.
This is traditionally done with a charcoal grill, but it taste pretty damn nice when grilled on gas as well. Although the traditional vegetables are onions, tomatoes, peppers and garlic, you are very welcome to give it your own twist! Why don’t you go to your local market and see what delicious flavours may combine nicely together? This recipe takes about 45 minutes to make.
- 4 whole onions
- 5 whole tomatoes
- 1 whole garlic bulb, or several whole garlic cloves with the peel
- 4-5 whole green Anaheim peppers
- 2 whole bell peppers
- 2-3 whole jalapeño peppers
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1-2-3 tbs olive oil
- Hard boiled eggs
- And, of course, Harissa
- Clean and dry the vegetables that have skin.
- Char your vegetables a few at a time. For the best flavor, do this over a charcoal grill. Turn the vegetables every so often to get an even char all the way around. (straight over a gas stove flame works too).
- Once charred, place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap (or even better, reusable wrap), allowing the vegetables to sweat a bit. This makes the peeling process easier.
- Let them sit aside for 10-20 mins.
- Peel the outher skin off your veggies. If they have sweat properly, this should not be too hard, you could also use a knife (and gloves to protect your hands from burning!).
- Remove any stems and seeds you wish to omit, especially those of peppers if you don’t want the dish to be too spicy.
- Once everything’s peeled, place a few vegetables at a time into a food processor and pulse until a little smooth but there are still some small chunks. You could also cut them in very tiny pieces.
- Mix well, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with hard boiled eggs, tuna, olives, and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Some iconic Tunisian Harissa on the side is never a bad idea.
- Serve with fresh bread (and eat with your hands).
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