Monday, July 10, 2006

imam bayildi

I'm finally getting around to posting some of my favorite dishes from our trip to Greece and Turkey. This dish, whose name translates as "the imam fainted" or "the imam cried" was my favorite. It takes a little time, but it's fun to make and it's worth it. Besides that, all the ingredients are about to come into season.

4 medium eggplants
4 medium onions
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
8 cloves of garlic
1 t salt
2 t sugar
1/4 c chopped parsley
3 t fresh lemon juice
olive oil
sweet paprika
Remove the stems of the eggplants and peel them so that the outside looks striped (about 1 inch stripes). Cut small slashes into the eggplant halves and salt them. Turn them cut side down on paper towels and let them sit for about half an hour.

Cut the onions in half and then slice thinly, so you get a bunch of half moon slices. Cover the bottom of your saute pan with olive oil and cook the onions until they are translucent; add the garlic cloves and cook for another minute or two. Add the tomatoes and cook for about five minutes, until they are cooked down. Add salt, sugar, lemon juice, and other spices and set aside.

Pour one cup of water into a baking dish that will hold all the eggplants. Pat the eggplants dry (you can even squeeze them a little) and put them in the baking dish, cut side up, where they fit snugly together. Fill each half with the tomato-onion mixture. Pour 1/4 c olive oil over the top of the filled eggplants and cover. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before serving.

I didn't faint or cry; I asked for more.