Vegetable Spread / Zacuscă / Zakuszka

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Posted By: Dan Petra
Posted In:  Traditional Recipes
Page Views:  2323 views
Preparation Time:  60 minutes
Cooking Time:  120 minutes
Course: breakfast


Other Info

servings: 4-6

Ingredients

U.S.

Ingredients

European

3 lbs

Red peppers

1 ½ kg

1 lbs

Onion

½ kg

4 lbs

Eggplant

2 kg

1 c

Olive oil

240 ml

1 jar

Tomato paste

320 g

To taste

Salt and pepper

To taste


Directions

1.  Clean, quarter and seed the red peppers. Set aside.

2.  Chop the onion and set aside.

3.  Over an open flame on the stove top, or in the oven, completely blacken the skins of the eggplants and red peppers. Peel away the blackened skin immediately while still hot so they retain their flavor. Rinse in cold water if needed to cool or clean the flesh.

4.  In separate bowls, puree or chop and mash the eggplant and peppers until smooth. (It is incredibly hard to puree the red pepper unless it has been thoroughly cooked in the flame.) If you’re not concerned about your Zacuscă being smooth as butter when you spread it on bread, don’t worry about the chunks of red pepper, they will soften when you cook the mixture on the stove, but they will not be spreadable.

5.  In a large pot, warm the oil over a medium flame.

6. Add onion and lightly sauté for about 4 minutes (until soft).

7.  Next, add eggplant and peppers and mix well.  Add tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the ingredients meld together into a spread. Add more oil if necessary. You know it is ready by lifting a spoonful of Zacuscă from the pot and only the oil will run off the spoon, not the Zacuscă.

8.  Spread over bread and enjoy with cheese and olives.

 

Notes:  To store*: place in sterilized jars, making sure that there are no air holes. Cover with lids or a moistened piece of cellophane and tie tightly. If there isn’t enough oil to cover the surface, pour in about 1 Tbs. The layer of oil will help to protect the Zacuscă. Wrap jars in paper or cloth to prevent them from breaking. Place the jars in another large pot. Fill the container with water up to the necks of the jars and bring to a boil over a medium-high flame. Boil the jars for a good 10 minutes. Remove pot from flame. When finished, remove the jars from the water and cover jars with a blanket overnight to ensure the Zacuscă gradually cools off.

               

This recipe is time consuming and messy to produce. It can be helpful to make Zacuscă with a Romanian the first time so you get the hang of it.

 

Variations: Traditionally, Zacuscă is not prepared with carrots, mushrooms or zucchini, however, if desired, these can be used to taste. Mushroom Zacuscă can often be found in Transylvania where the fall mushroom crop often corresponds with the harvest of peppers and eggplant.

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