Friday, September 12, 2008

Stovetop Eggplant Tagine & Five Favorite Photos

Eggplant Tagine
Flavored with ras el hanout, preserved lemon and
currants, a celebrated Middle Eastern specialty satisfies
spicy, salty and sweet cravings in the same dish.


Stovetop Eggplant Tagine (my own recipe)


3 generous cups unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes or 2-inch X 1/2-inch spears
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ras el hanout
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup dried currants or raisins
1/3 cup brine from a jar of preserved lemons or a 1/4 preserved lemon, finely chopped
2/3 cup water
A few cranks ground black pepper


If using large eggplant, prepare the cut pieces with a light coating of salt, then leave them to drain in a colander or on paper towels for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. If using baby eggplant, proceed to cooking.

In a large, heavy skillet, preferably with a domed lid, toast the pine nuts over low heat until lightly browned. (Though I own a stovetop-safe tagine, a skillet works equally well. A domed lid enhances the capture of condensation before it slides back to the cooking surface.) Remove the pine nuts and reserve.

In the same skillet, adjust the heat to low. Add olive oil, gently heating it for 30 seconds or until it slightly thins. Add the eggplant pieces, turning them frequently to cover evenly with the oil. When the eggplant is lightly browned and well stained with oil, add the garlic and stir through. Let the garlic heat until fragrant but not browned. Sprinkle ras el hanout evenly over the eggplant, then stir. Add brine or preserved lemon, water, and currants. Stir through, adjust the heat to the lowest possible level, then cover skillet with lid. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until eggplant is tender but not mushy. Remove lid and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces to a slightly thickened sauce that leaves none of the flavors behind. Remove from heat, add black pepper, top with the toasted pine nuts and serve either hot, warm or cold – especially good the next day after flavors meld and develop. Serves 2-3. --

Eggplant Tagine

This dish is on its way to the delightful Simona of Briciole, hosting Fresh Produce of the Month - Eggplant for Marta of An Italian in the U.S. , the creator of this monthly food blogging event.

Been There, Done That ~

Anise Turkish Delight
Baklava Figs
Ice in Heaven


The Ones That Got Away - Five Favorite Photos

Though the original meme calls for ten top picks from archived posts, I am posting five which never saw the light for a variety of reasons from low yield to recipe failure. Or maybe I just couldn't keep them out of my mouth.

Yellow Heirloom Tomatoes
Yellow Heirloom Tomatoes

Black Mission Fig
Black Mission Fig

White Donut Peaches
White Saturn Peaches


Red Raspberries
Red Raspberries

Special thanks to Wiffy of Noobcook for passing on the Beautiful Site Award. Wiffy's photos are first rate, skillfully exposed as well as composed. Stop by for a look. I'm sure you will linger.

Other People's Pix ~

A Life (Time) of Cooking
Rosa's Yummy Yums
Diet, Dessert and Dogs


  1. Eggplant is a firm favorite in our kitchen, Susan, and this recipe sounds like a must-try, especially since some of these flavors are very new to me. I cannot get over how beautiful those fruits and your pictures are.

  2. Love those pix, esp the transparent gooseberries and the raspberries.

  3. hey Susan, Thanks a lot for the lovely wishes. hope all is fine at your end. your template looks so beautiful. How did you do it? I am trying to put some pics in my template too. keep buzzing me. I am not getting much time to blog but want to keep in touch with all my old buddies like you.

  4. Great recipe, Susan: a very nice combination of flavors. And I love the photos, all of them, with maybe a bit of a soft spot for the gooseberry one. Thanks for participating!

  5. Gorgeous recipe, Susan. I seem to be in an "eggplant phase" at the moment. Must bookmark this to try!

    The photos are stunning, really highlight the beauty of the stark fruit/veg. I'd never seen that type of peach before--so pretty!

  6. Beautiful photos! And the recipe looks delicious -- I have many tagine pots, including a few I designed with a local potter, and I'm always looking for new recipes.

  7. Susan, what a creative recipe! Looks so delicious too. Love your top 5 pics, especially the goosberries as I love them a lot and miss them - can't find them here in California:(

  8. I liked the fig and gooseberries - they look clear fresh and clean! The tagine is very interesting, as my family has a very negative image of eggplants!

  9. I love this too, but have only had the store bought ones! Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Those five fave photos are fantastic--makes them look like you just picked everything from your backyard! Thanks for sharing them.

  11. Beautifully done Susan. I just bought a new camera and am excited to try to get some shots with this perspective. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Lori Lynn

  12. DeAR Susan,
    long time since i blog hopped.... i was under yet another move!... i have relocated back to india!.........and still under the pleasures and pessures of relocation!
    your 5 best photographs are too good! each looks good.

    am sure egg plant dish must also taste great! though i am not an eggplant person.according to ayurveda eggplant is said to be one vegetable which has negetive prana or energy...(just an info from my side)

    congrats on ur beautiful site award!

  13. You know there are so many spectular recipes for eggplant such as the one you have made here that at times I pity the fact that I can't seem to eat this vegetable unless it is fire-roasted. I have tried other ways of preparing it but I just can't seem to eat it. It's a shame really.

  14. Gorgeous photos, Susan... I am glad you featured them :) The eggplant dish looks so elegant ... what a great recipe! ^^

  15. Susan, each and every pic is simply gorgeous...

  16. I want a tagine!!!
    And then I want to be able to take beautiful photos like these...

  17. that yellow tomato is lovely!

  18. Gorgeous photo shoots!! loved the texture of the pic... ur dish looks so yummy!!!

    Thanks for sharing it.
    This is my first time here... u have a lovely space...

    I am pretty new to this blogsphere...jus popped in to say a big hi!

  19. love them all, esp the gooseberries.

  20. Beautiful photos and beautiful eggplant dish! I love the gooseberries and raspberries especially.

  21. We seem to be on the same page. I've just made 3 different Moroccan style dishes, two of which have eggplant. Haven't posted them yet, but will be doing so soon.

    Your photography has gotten even better over time - and it started out first rate! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

  22. Many thanks, Vaishali. My husband hates eggplant (early childhood traumas), but that is no reason for me not to enjoy it on my own. This is a vegan-friendly recipe; I hope you try it.

    Thanks, dear Sra.

    Sharmi – So very good to hear from you. I’ve just left you an additional comment. I will keep buzzing you.

    Thank you, Simona. Many have a “soft spot” for the gooseberries. : }

    Ricki – Thanks. Since you are in your “eggplant phase” this is a good Middle Eastern riff on ratatouille.

    Thank you, Lydia. I don’t know a local potter yet, but my Emile Henry does make me happy for the moment.

    Ah, Farida. The gooseberries strike again. Thank you so much. Gooseberries are generally hard to find in the Northeast.

    Sunshine Mom – Thank you. My husband is not fond of eggplant; it seems to be a very particular taste.

    Ruhama – Thank you, dear girl. I wish I had a garden that fecund. Someday.

    Lori Lynn -- Thank you. I am psyched for you. A new camera is an enormous endeavor. You already have a good eye; you are good to go.

    Nandu – *Thrilled* to hear from you. It has been a long time. Be in touch when you can. Thank you for your input. My husband doesn’t care for eggplant --- maybe he knows. “ }

    Cynthia – Thanks. Understood. We all have our taboos and prejudices. No big.

    Wiffy – Thanks, tweetie. Elegant eggplant, yes, but I did wolf it down – no elegance, there. : D

    Thanks, dear Sia. : }

    Katie – Sigh not. I am sure you can do it, too, even without a tagine. Thanks very much.

    Dani – Thanks! Jersey’s best!

    Welcome, Vij! Thank you for the kudos. Good to see you.

    Thanks, Bee. The gooseberries seem to be the clear favorite.

    EC Vancouver – Thanks. Berries rock!

    Toni – Can’t wait to see your recipes. North African cuisines are extraordinary. Thanks for your kind words. Practice with photos brings you closer to perfection, whatever that is. ; )

  23. This recipe is sure to get my out of my eggplant rut! I love tagines, I love eggplant and I adore preserved lemons. Thank you!

  24. Hi Susan

    Nice to be here after a long time..
    The eggplant recipe looks new and delicious.. Your pics are the best always!!

  25. This recipe sounds wonderful and your photos are making me hungry!

    Those gooseberries look etherial!

  26. Your photos always blow me away.

  27. Lovely photos! The eggplant dish sounds exceptional. Tagine dishes always have such amazing flavors, and yours is no exception. Delicous :). We would love to feature your recipe on our blog and kitchen digital recipe reader. Please email me at if you're interested. Have a great week ahead!

  28. Hi Susan,
    I arrived here via a link in Lydia's recent post about ras el hanout on The Perfect Pantry. That eggplant dish looks and sounds absolutely wonderful. And now I even know what ras el hanout is! : )