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Zaalouk al Qarnabit Cauliflower Dip

In Moroccan cooking, a Zaalouk is a roughly mashed dip, usually scooped up with pita bread. Here it’s made with qarnabit, or cauliflower. It’s really pretty simple, and consists of mashing cooked cauliflower and sautéing it with tomatoes, olive oil, and spices. It makes a nice accompaniment or change to the traditional hummus in an appetizer spread. But it’s also chunky enough to serve as a vegetable course. The spicing is pretty free form as is the heat, depending on how much pepper you add, so use your imagination. All in all, it’s a very forgiving dish. The preserved lemon adds a tart, salty kick.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a side.

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Zaalouk al Qarnabit Cauliflower Dip Recipe

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided in half
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided in half
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons, or to taste, salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon, or more to taste, Urfa pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 a preserved lemon, diced
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • kalamata olives for garnish
  • slivers of preserved lemon rind for garnish
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Preparation Instructions

Break the cauliflower up into medium-sized florets. In a large pot boil the florets in salted water for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender enough to mash. Drain, return to the pot, and mash the cauliflower with a vegetable masher. Set aside.

While the cauliflower is boiling, cook the tomatoes with 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until a sauce starts to form and the tomatoes are very soft. Mash the tomatoes with a vegetable masher and add the garlic, cooking for another minute or two until the garlic is fragrant.

Transfer the tomatoes and garlic to the pot with the mashed cauliflower. Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, half of the chopped parsley, the spices and preserved lemon. Stir to mix, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, and mashing the vegetables each time you stir, until all the liquid is absorbed. If the mash dries out excessively and starts to stick, add a little chicken stock or water to moisten it.

When all the liquid is absorbed, taste for salt and stir in the remaining parsley. Serve on a platter or bowl for scooping. Garnish with additional olive oil drizzled on top, kalamata olives and slivers of preserved lemon rind.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a side.

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