Although the summer has come to an end and the weather is cooling down, I still haven't stopped craving barbecued meats and the amazing sides that always accompany them. There is nothing like a perfect salad to brighten up your meal, and if you're like me and crave the smokiness that comes with charred meats and veggies, then this salad is for you!
Salata mashwiya is a Tunisian staple that is made year-round, and I have to say the Tunisians are definitely on to something. The best part about this salad is that it is so easy, and you don't even need a grill, or meat for that matter, to make it. The charred veggies, garnished with fish, usually tuna, boiled eggs and olives may sound strange to some, but tuna and boiled eggs are actually a very popular garnish in Tunisian cuisine.
You can char your veggies in a variety of ways. If you're already grilling, then all you need to do is pop them on the grill and you have an instant side dish, and you can leave out the tuna if you prefer. Otherwise, I find that using a grill pan is a great alternative. You want to make sure you put your onions on first, as they take the longest to soften, and I like to speed up the process by taking the layers apart once they start to soften, so they grill faster. The garlic also takes a little bit of time, but the peppers and tomatoes are the quickest. I went with Padron peppers because they have a little bit of heat but are not too aggressive. Feel free to use green bell peppers and you can add a few jalapenos for heat if you'd like. Also, don't skip covering the veggies with some plastic wrap once they are cooked and leaving them to sweat a bit, because it makes it much easier to peel the vegetables. Then all you need to do is pulse to your desired consistency, garnish and let this salad rest for about an hour for all the flavours to come together and shine.
Serve this on its own with bread or as a side with grilled meat or fish and prolong your summer vibes for as long as you like.
12-14 Padron peppers (or jalapenos, or any green pepper of choice)
2 large tomatoes
8-10 garlic cloves
4 tbsp olive oil, plus some to drizzle
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp caraway
A squeeze of lemon (optional)
10 green olives, pitted
1 can tuna
1 boiled egg, sliced
Coriander, chopped to garnish
- Grill the peppers, tomatoes, onion and garlic. You can use a grill pan, regular grill, or place them straight on a gas burner to get a char. Grill on all sides, making sure they get soft. If you're using a gas burner, keep the tomatoes whole to minimise the mess. You could also place them in an oven, but you won't have the smoky flavour from the char.
- Once grilled, place all of the vegetables in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. This allows the skin to steam off, making them easy to peel.
- Once warm enough to handle, peel the vegetables and pulse in a food processor. Pulse until desired texture, I like mine to be a little chunky, not too smooth.
- Pour into a serving platter and garnish with olives, tuna and eggs. Let it rest for an hour or so, so all the flavours mellow out and mix together. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the chopped coriander. Serve with bread or as a side dish to grilled meat and enjoy!
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