Usually, the food we grill stays whole. We put it on a bun, or we eat it with our hands. But today’s Tunisian Grilled Salad takes a different approach. The charred vegetables – peppers, onion, tomatoes – are pulsed together into a chunky mixture, then served with flaked tuna, and hard boiled egg.
This salad has body.
Much of the intensity comes off the grill, from the raw garlic, hot chili peppers, and the caraway seeds, all of which can be tempered to taste.
Please, please, please… let this salad meld for at least an hour before eating.
This will give the bite time to mellow.
Because you wouldn’t want to serve your guests a grouchy salad.
Mellow is much nicer.
Adapted from Clifford A. Wright’s A Mediterranean Feast.
3 green bell peppers
3 red chili peppers (like red fresno)
2 tomatoes (or 3 small)
1 onion, peeled and quartered (leave stem on to help hold it together)
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp caraway seeds (optional)
1 tsp salt
Olive oil (several swirls)
Juice of 1 lemon
handful black olives
1-2 pouches flaked tuna, drained
2-3 hard boiled eggs
Find a sunny spot in Tunisia to set up your grill.
Perhaps like this:
Or like this:
Grill the tomatoes, bell peppers, chili peppers, and onion over medium heat. Remove each vegetable after it is cooked through and charred. The onion will take the longest. The entire process will take somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, mash together the garlic, caraway seeds, and salt until it forms a paste.
Tip: If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you could try crushing the garlic and using half ground caraway and half whole caraway seeds. The garlic might have more bite this way, though, because the pieces will be bigger.
This is how mine looked after a good pound.
Peel and roughly chop all the grilled veggies. Add them to the bowl of a food processor with the garlic mixture (you may want to stir in the garlic mixture to taste; it is extremely potent). Pulse several times until chunky and well mixed.
Add in the garlic mixture and season with salt, to taste.
Refrigerate about an hour before serving.
Squeeze lemon juice over the top, drizzle with a happy stream of olive oil. Pile on the tuna, then garnish with eggs, olives, and lemon wedges.
Serve with pita bread.
I like it best about room temperature, or slightly cooler.
What about you? Do you find this salad appealing? I think caraway seed is the most polarizing ingredient in here… Keith sniffed it out immediately. Are you a fan? If not, how would you modify the recipe to suit your tastes?
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