Prep 30 mins
Cook 30 mins
A traditional vegetable spread found in Romania (probably in other neighboring countries as well). It is delicious on crust bread or even as a topping on rice for a quickie vegetarian meal. It is also excellent as a sandwich spread. This recipe is for a large batch intended for canning. You can cut it back if you want a smaller batch for immediate consumption.
- 8 lbs fresh eggplants
- 6 lbs red peppers
- 2 lbs onions
- 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups tomato paste
- 2 cups olive oil
- Over an open flame (gas stove or grill) completely blacken the skins of the eggplants and peppers.
- Peel skins off immediately. Easiest way to get the last bits off is to do it under a slow running faucet.
- Puree each of the three vegetables separately in a food processor. And place each in a separate bowl when you are finished.
- Place oil and onion in a large pot.
- Saute onions for about 4 minutes over medium-low heat.
- Add eggplant, onion, salt and pepper.
- Cook until a thin layer of oil remains on top and when a spoonful of zacusca is removed, only the oil should run off the spoon, not the zacusca.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper to meet your tastes.
- Spoon mixture into sterilized jars of your choosing. It is easiest if they are all the same size.
- Wipe rims clean and place clean lids and rings on jars.
- Place into a single layer in large pot (water bath canner if you have one).
- Fill pot with water up to the necks of the jars. Bring to a boil and boil for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool in water bath.
- When cool remove from water and you are ready to go. If oil separates just mix it back in when ready to serve.
- NOTE: My original Romanian recipe calls for a full Liter of oil but results in a much heavier and oilier zacusca. I cut mine back substantially from the original.
Thank you for the recipe Callu. I made this recipe but I just chopped the vegetables instead of passing then through a food processor and also added a little bit of white vinegar and some bay leaves.
****One word of caution, I would make the waterbath canning process more accurate by completely covering the jars by 2 inches of water during the water bath process. That's the saftest method of water bath canning.*****
Although the recipe is a bit hard to follow and missing a few steps, I managed to figure it out and boy am I glad I did! This is delicious! I couldn't stop licking the spoon. :-)
To complete the directions, once you soften the opnions in the oil, add everything else in, including the tomato paste. They forgot to write that. I also left the onions in chopped form and choose not to puree them as I like some texture.
This recipe will be delicious in pasta, layered with roasted vegetables, as a dip, on crusty bread. This recipe made 11 pints.
I've made it with whole peppercorns too and I sometimes add white beans, which I like coz it makes the zacusca sweeter.