Friday, April 16, 2010

Recipe: Imam bayildi (Stuffed Eggplants)

Harvest time!

I had been planning on making eggplant moussaka, but discovered upon arriving home that I didn't actually have a recipe at hand. No matter - stephanie offered this recipe:

3 eggplants, halved lengthwise
1 large onion, finely sliced

1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
(I used a can, rather than fresh)
1 bay leaf
pinch of ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

freshly ground black pepper

juice of 1 large lemon

Scoop out eggplant flesh, then chop and lightly salt and set aside. Lightly salt eggplant shells and leave upside down for 30mins. Rinse and dry shells.
Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Cook onion slowly in 2 tbsp of oil. Add garlic and saute for 1 min, then add tomato, bay leaf, cinnamon, parsley and cook for another 5 mins. Tip into bowl. Rinse and dry eggplant flesh. Heat 3 tbsp oil and saute eggplant, then mix.
Pile filling into eggplant shells and brush with a little oil. Pack shells into an oiled baking or gratin dish. Pour in enough water mixed with lemon juice and remaining oil to barely cover eggplant. Bake for 30-45 mins until soft. Allow to cool and serve at room temperature or cold.

I halved the recipe, since I was only cooking for two.

First up: Let's start with the fresh harvest from the garden:
The eggplants were a bit seedy, I guess I had left them to grow for a bit too long. Cutting the flesh out and cubing it was quite easy. The silverbeet is my parsley substitute.

So here we have the filled eggplant shells heading into the oven. Already they look quite delicious!

40 minutes later, I couldn't wait for them to cool to room temperature, so I ate them after 5 minutes resting. In the introduction, Stephanie says: "Folklore claims that a Turkish priest, the imam, fainted with pleasure on being served this dish by his wife."

I can see why: such simple ingredients, but it takes on an added dimension with the ordinarily plain eggplant melding everything together and making it oh so moreish!
There were no leftovers.

No comments: