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Roasted Eggplant and Pepper Spread (Zacusca)

  • Prep Time
    3 hours
  • Cook Time
    3 hours 30 minutes
  • Serving
    48 People
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220 kcal per serving

  • Daily Value*
  • 2g protein
  • 21g fat
  • 4g fiber


Step 1

Poke the eggplant flesh in several places with a knife (this allows steam to escape when cooking). Remove the stems from the peppers and core them. Slice them in half lengthwise.

Step 2

Place the eggplant and red peppers on baking trays lined with parchment paper and place them in the hot oven at 410 F for about 25-30 minutes for the peppers and about 45 minutes for the eggplants, turning the vegetables over at least 3 times during this time. Do not take them out of the oven until they are very soft.

Step 3

Once cooked, cover the vegetables with plastic wrap. This will makes peeling easier. Let the vegetables cool and peel them all; chop them coarsely and keep them aside. Put the eggplants in a sieve and let them drain well for at least 90 minutes. Leave the peppers in another bowl and keep the juices they release.

Step 4

Put some eggplant and red peppers in the food processor and pulse a few times until the eggplant is chopped, but you don't want it to look like a paste. Repeat the same with the remaining eggplant and red peppers.

Step 5

Heat the oil in a very large pan and add the onions and chili peppers. Cook for 5 minutes until soft, taking care not to burn them. They should just change color. Gently add the eggplant and bell pepper and stir with a wooden spoon. Add tomato sauce. Add the salt, black pepper, and bay leaves. This requires 60 to 90 minutes of cooking over low to medium heat. Stir every 8-10 minutes just so it doesn't stick to the bottom. If it dries out too much, add a few tablespoons of water.

Step 6

In the meantime, boil the canning jars in hot water for about 10 minutes. Then, just before the spread is ready to be canned, place the jars, lids off, in the oven at 350 F for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves from the spread and adjust with salt and pepper. Take them out and carefully fill the jars leaving about an inch from the top; place the lid on the rim and twist until it is tightly secured. Once this is done with all the jars, return them to the oven and heat them for another 15 minutes, after which you can turn the oven off and let them in the oven cool.

Step 7

Zacusca can have a slightly bitter flavor, which can be offset with a bit of honey if desired.

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