The name of this famous Turkish eggplant dish means "the imam (priest) fainted," a condition probably brought on by how delicious it is. If possible, prepare this dish from 24-48 hours in advance so the flavors can mellow. If you cannot find Asian or small globe eggplants, you can substitute large globe eggplants by cutting them in half lengthwise and making the slits for stuffing in the cut side.
- 8 Asian eggplants or 4 very small globe eggplants, about 2 pounds total
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 cups peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- 12 cloves garlic, finely minced
- Pinch of sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
- 1 cup hot water
Cut off and discard the stems from the eggplants. Using a sharp knife, peel the eggplants to form a striped pattern that resembles a barber pole.
Warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the eggplants and sauté until tender and softened on all sides, 5-8 minutes for the Asian variety and 15 minutes for the globe variety. Using a slotted spatula or tongs, carefully transfer the eggplants to a baking dish, arranging them side by side.
Add the onions to the oil remaining in the pan and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic and continue to sauté for 2 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the sugar. Stir in the parsley and set aside.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut a lengthwise slit about half-way through each eggplant and to within 1 inch of both ends. Carefully pull the slit open to make a pocket. Stuff each slit with an equal amount of the tomato-onion mixture. Add the hot water to the pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake until the eggplants are very tender when pierced with a fork, 15-20 minutes for the Asian variety and 30-45 minutes for the globe variety.
Transfer the eggplants to a platter. Let cool. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
409 calories; 28g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 27mg sodium; 39g carbohydrates; 12g fiber; 6g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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