Salade cuite (French for “Cooked Salad”) is a Moroccan tradition (also called Matboucha in Israel).
Unfortunately, too many younger Jewish people (no, I won’t just say women) don’t know how to make it and rely on the store bought variety. The store bought kind is not the real deal. It is runny and lacks flavour.
Salade cuite takes time to make but luckily, it freezes beautifully. I make a big batch and then freeze mine in individual glass jars. On Thursday night, I remove a jar from the freezer and by Shabbat (Friday) dinner, I have delicious, homemade, and authentic salade cuite.
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
8 large (796ml) cans diced tomatoes, drained
2 green peppers, roasted, stemmed and peeled
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. ground cumin
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Make sure to use a pot you can put in the oven.
Begin by roasting the green peppers on an open flame or in the oven. Peel and remove stem and seeds. Slice in strips. Set aside.
Heat a large pot with 2 tbsp. olive oil on medium heat. Add chopped jalapeños. Sauté for about 5 minutes ( do not burn). Add diced garlic. Continue to cook.
To properly drain the tomatoes, place large strainer over sink. Pour can of tomato over strainer and using your palm, squish out as much liquid as possible. Repeat for all cans. 8 cans should yield you approximately a little over 2 quarts of diced tomatoes.
Add to the pot the diced tomatoes. Cook uncovered on medium-high heat for about 45 minutes. The liquid will reduce. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
Using a potato masher or the back of a large wooden spoon, mash down the tomatoes during these 45 minutes.
The secret to salad cuite is that it needs to be a jam like consistency (which is why after the stove top, it is put in the oven to become jam-like). It should never be runny. To cut corners, commercial suppliers of this salad often make this salad runny and keep the peel on of the green pepper. That’s not how it should be.
Now add the sliced green peppers and stir.
Place pot in the oven and bake for approximately 3 hours to 3 1/2 hours.
Stir occasionally and after about 2 hours, add 1 tbsp. of ground cumin. Stir the salad. Allow to cook until you can see the bottom of the pot when you use a spoon. It should have a jam-like consistency and not have liquid. It will look “caramelized”.
Shabbat Shalom and Hag Sameach!