If there is one country on earth that knows how to use eggplants, it surely has to be Turkey.
Legend has it that when the Imam was offered this dish, he wept with delight. A few hundred years have passed since that day. And I had it yesterday for dinner. I could not weep with delight. But I had never tasted something so decadent, something so mushy and drippy, something that which melted in my mouth releasing a thousand different feelings that could escape my lips only in the form of a single
A topping of tomato and onion on eggplants in a olive oil bath cooked gently and slowly for an hour or so
Stuffed Aubergines...or so they call an eggplant in Turkey. No wonder they achieve such brilliance from the vegetable :)
One big eggplant. Cut into four flat pieces.
1 big tomato
1.5 medium onion
1 tbsf of dried or fresh oregano
2 tbsf of dried parsley. You can use half a cup of fresh ones too
You can use any other combination of herbs here.1 tbsf sugar
4 tbsf olive oil
3/4 cup of water
All you do is chop and bake!
Preheat your oven to 400F.
Place your aubergine-- I am going to stick to aubergine here simply because the name eggplant does not do justice to the dish-- in an oven proof dish. For best results use a cast iron skillet. Sprinkle a little salt on the aubergine pieces and leave it for 5 minutes. Make them 'weep' i.e draw out the liquid from the flesh. This softens flesh of the aubergine and deeper infusion of flavor during the baking process which follows. Chop the tomatoes, onions and garlic as finely as possible. Mix with 1 tbsf olive oil, parsley, oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully pile the mixture on the aubergine pieces so as to cover the entire surface of each piece. Mix the rest of the oil with the water and sugar. Pour it all over and around the eggplants in the dish. Seal the skillet carefully with Aluminum foil.
Place the dish in the oven and leave for 1 hour at 400F. After 1 hour, remove the seal. At this stage the eggplant is really mushy. Push the topping, now softened, into the aubergine pieces to flatten the top as much as possible. Put the dish back into the oven but without the cover. Heat at 400F for another 30-35 minutes. You can also do the entire thing on the stove at the lowest flame setting.
Serve with Lemon wedges. Baking never was this simple. And eggplants never tasted this good :) No wonder the Imam was beside himself!
Happy eating and healthy living