Roasted Salad: Salata Mashwiya سلطة مشوية

For azleena, who requested this one. Thanks to  everyone who has commented or is a follower of the blog. We appreciate your support!
Salata Mashwiya literally means roasted salad, and is known by that name in Tunisia and in western Libya. This salad doubles as a hot sauce, and is served with barbeques in much of the Arab world. When made for a barbeque, the vegetables are grilled over the fire while the meat marinates, and get that smoky distinctive barbeque flavor, but you can just as easily use the grill at home. The salad’s color and thickness depends on the vegetables you use. Bell pepper in  Arab countries is generally thinner, so you can use eggplant to thicken the sauce, grill it with the other vegetables and peel it to keep the color bright. Grilled eggplant is used in baba ghanouj and mtabal.

5 medium tomatoes
3 large sweet bell peppers 
2 medium onion
1 medium eggplant (optional )
2/3 medium hot chillies 
5 garlic cloves
1 tablespoons (freshly ground) caraway seeds 
 salt to taste

for decoration:
2 hardboiled eggs
olives and olive oil as needed
Prepare the  bell peppers by cutting into thick equal strips, and cut the onions in half, or smaller, depending on size. You might also want to de-vein and de-seed the chillis at this point. Cut the tomatoes in half. If they are large, scoop out the insides into a bowl. This will keep them from becoming soggy. Set the pulp aside.
Heat a grill tray at 250 degrees. When the tray is hot, lay the vegetables on it. It should be hot enough that there is a sizzling sound. It has to be hot, and the vegetables have to be dry, so that you get the roasted taste, otherwise the salad will taste like steamed vegetables. Make sure you put the garlic cloves closest to you as they will need to be removed before the rest of the vegetables.
Remove the garlic cloves once they’re done.
Take out the rest of the vegetables. Remove the overly burnt pieces.
Place in a processor. Add the ground caraway and salt. I like to add some of the raw tomato pulp to the roasted vegeatbles. If you like the salad with a chunky consistency, omit the tomato pulp and process just enough to blend.
Cut the hardboiled eggs into quarters. Garnish the salata mashwiya with pitted olives and drizzle generously with olive oil. Serve with mixed grilled meat and freshly baked bread.
16th Mediterranean cooking event - Libya - tobias cooks! - 10.01.2011-10.02.2011