A friend of ours is originally from Romania and introduced us to zacusca, a traditional eggplant and red pepper dip, and we really liked it. DH, the chef, went home and whipped up something that came close, but with a few additions. I’m no chef, but I made my version yesterday and it was yum. Here’s basically how to whip up your own zacusca-ish goodness.
salt to taste
celery stalks (not in traditional zacusca)
garbanzo beans (not in traditional zacusca)
olive oil (about 1 Tbsp.)
This is not so much of a recipe as an ingredient list because I was trying to use up some leftover eggplant when I made this and was just throwing things in. I put about 1 eggplant’s worth (maybe a little less), 1 1/2 – 2 red pepper’s worth (diced from the freezer so hard to tell), a bunch of tiny garlic cloves which probably equaled 4-6 regular-sized cloves, 1 pint of canned chick peas, a couple tablespoons (didn’t measure) of tomato paste, 3 celery stalks, about 1 onion’s worth and salt to taste. My ingredients made about 4-5 cups.
I put everything in a pot and cooked it all together till all ingredients were nice and soft and most of the water had boiled out, then I blended it with my stick blender. The recipes I saw didn’t call for blending the zacusca, but I like the smooth blended texture so it works for me.
I put in more eggplant than red pepper, but I have seen recipes that called for much more red pepper than I used. Some called for tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes instead of the paste and most called for the eggplant and peppers to be roasted. I didn’t roast either and it was still delish.
I hope you try it and if it comes out anything like mine did, you will not be disappointed!