Moroccan “Steak Frites” with Chermoula-Eggplant Relish

Holiday 2013
201306019.jpg
food and drink

BY: Christopher St. Onge

Chermoula is a North African herb-and-spice mixture typically used to season fish, but is delicious tossed with caramelized eggplant as part of a velvety relish. Its delicate balance of flavour is best served warm or at room temperature, rather than piping hot.

OVEN-BAKED POTATO CHIPS
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
1 small baking potato, about 10 oz (300 g), scrubbed
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil

CHERMOULA-EGGPLANT RELISH
¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil, divided
¼ cup (60 mL) firmly packed cilantro leaves
¼ cup (60 mL) firmly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 chopped green onion
2 tsp (10 mL) sweet paprika
1½ tsp (7 mL) ground cumin
½ tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
3 tbsp (45 mL) lemon juice
1 medium eggplant, about 1 lb (500 g), cut into ¼ inch (5 mm) dice
1 tsp (5 mL) sugar

STEAK
1 tbsp (15 mL) lightly crushed coriander seed
1 tsp (5 mL) paprika
¼ tsp (1 mL) cayenne
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil
12 oz (375 g) flank steak
Preserved lemon rind or chopped parsley to garnish

1 To make potato chips, preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

2 Combine salt and cumin in a small bowl; set aside.

3 Cut potato into scant 1/8-inch-thick (3-mm) slices. Toss with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, turn over and sprinkle with salt mixture. Return to oven for an additional 4 to 6 minutes or until potatoes are crisp and mostly golden (some lighter spots in centre of chips will remain). Remove to a rack to cool and crisp further (chips will keep tightly covered for 2 weeks).

4 For the chermoula-eggplant relish, combine 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil, cilantro, parsley, garlic and onion in a food processor; pulse to coarsely chop. Add paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice; purée. Set aside.

5 Heat remaining 3 tbsp (45 mL) oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes or until soft and deeply caramelized. Sprinkle with sugar, stir, and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat, pour chermoula mixture over eggplant and stir gently to combine. Allow to cool, tightly cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (If making ahead, relish will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

6 For the steak, combine coriander seed, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic and 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil in a large resealable plastic bag. Cutting with the grain, slice steak into 1½-inch (4-cm) strips and place into bag. Seal bag and shake to coat steak in oil mixture. Marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

7 Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

8 Heat remaining 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil over medium heat. Brown steak pieces on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Place in oven and cook for 5 minutes (rare) to 7 minutes (medium). Tent with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

9 To assemble, slice steak into ¼-inch (5-mm) pieces and top each chip with a slice, folding to fit if necessary. Top each with a small spoonful of the chermoula-eggplant relish. Garnish with small pieces of preserved lemon rind or chopped parsley.

Makes 24