Stuffed Baby Eggplants (Imam Bayeldi) from Turkey
By Chef Madhur Jaffrey
6 small Italian Eggplants (about 3 ounces each)
4 - 5 inches long preferably with sepals attached
Peanut Oil or Canola Oil
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 large Onion (3.5 ounces) finely chopped
2 teaspoons Chopped Garlic peeled and very finely
2 large organic tomatoes - (1 pound) peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
4 tablespoons Organic Parsley very finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.
Peel 3 strips about 1/3 inch wide down each eggplant, so they have a striped appearance.
Rub generously with oil and salt and place in a baking dish. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 1 hour, or until softened and cooked through.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Put the olive oil in a frying pan and set over medium heat.
When hot, put in the onion and garlic. Stir and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the garlic and onion have softened.
Put in the tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and bring to a simmer.
Turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for 7 – 8 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened and the liquid has thickened.
Add the parsley, stir once and turn off the heat.
Remove the eggplants form the oven and arrange prettily in a serving dish.
Cut a pocket in each eggplant this way: Starting ¼ inch from the top, cut a long slit that stops ¼ inch from the bottom.
The slit should be deep but not go all the way through. In order to widen the slit push the eggplant very gently from the top and the bottom toward the center.
Ladle 1/8 of the filling into each pocket. Serve hot or chilled.
These melt in your mouth eggplant may be served with any mediterranean Bean Dish and some crusty whole wheat bread.
A yogurt relish would complete the meal. If you cannot get small eggplants, use 4 large ones and bake them until they are tender.