Imam Bayildi (or Stuffed Eggplant)

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. Summer Kitchen Caramelized Onions
1/2-3/4 c. House Blend or Lemon Olive Oil
3 med. tomatoes, peeled and chopped
Saltwest Naturals Rosemary & Sage Sea Salt
2 med. eggplants
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic

Instructions:

Mix together caramelized onions, tomatoes, sea salt & pepper. Cook until it comes together as a very thick stew. Remove from heat.

Cut stem ends from each eggplant and cut each eggplant in half lengthwise. Make 3 lengthwise slits, almost from end to end, cutting into the flesh about 1 inch deep. Heat 1/2 cup House Blend or Lemon Olive Oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the eggplant, cut side down and fry gently, until dark golden brown on cut side. Turn over and fry on cut side a few more minutes. Remove from oil (most will have been absorbed) and place on paper towels to drain for at least 15 minutes before proceeding with recipe.

Preheat oven to 350F. Hold each slit apart and spoon the vegetable mixture into each cavity. Arrange the eggplants in a baking dish just large enough to hold them. Sprinkle with sugar, Lemon White Balsamic and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Bake for 40 minutes or until very tender.

*Tested in our Turkish Cooking Class

Serve as a dip or spread, scooping it out from the roasted skins, with lots of crusty French bread. Or serve with rice.

Chef's Note: The story behind this dish is that the Imam (a Turkish official in the Ottoman Empire) fainted when his wife told him she’d used up all the olive oil in making this dish. Eggplant is an oil sponge, it loves to soak it up. Having said that, it is also very, very delicious, and if you allow the eggplant to drain well after frying them, you will reduce calories from this recipe while retaining great taste.

*Tested in Turkish Cooking Class

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