This popular greek (mediterranean) dish comes with a turkish name. Called simply 'Imam' by most, its full title is 'Imam Bayialdi', the Imam fainted, apparently when he saw how much olive oil his wife had used in the cooking. Or maybe it was just so delicious he fell down in an ecstasy.
I have cut down on the olive oil at least by half by baking the aubergine instead of frying them. Eggplant soak up olive oil like a sponge.
I cut the aubergine (eggplant) in half, score it quite deeply with a knife and bake it in the oven for about half an hour till it is soft. I just put them in a baking dish, no oil, no water or other liquid.
Then I scoop out the insides, keeping it to put in the filling. When the aubergines are soft and have cooled a little it is easy to remove the inside flesh
Then into a pot go sliced onions, not diced, 2 or 3 chopped garlic cloves, 2 or 3 big tomatoes diced, a few tablespoons of olive oil, chopped parsley, mint and basil, salt and pepper. Add the chopped aubergine that you removed from each half.
Cook till the onions are soft but not browned, add extra tomato juice or water if it is a little dry
Here is where you can add feta cheese to make it just a little tastier. Drizzle olive oil over each half aubergine, put crumbled feta in first and then fill up each little 'boat' with the onion and tomato mixture till they overflow and fill the dish with tomatoes and onions..
To keep it moist cover with slices of tomato.
Pour some more olive oil over the top of all this and then bake at 180oC for about half an hour. I over cooked mine and they were a bit black on top just like my stuffed tomatoes. This blackened crust just gives it more flavour. That's my excuse anyway.
Imam - eggplants baked with tomatoes, onions and garlic
i've seen several greek cooking programmes lately where they have made these.
Each cook has a slight variation.
One drizzled balsamic vinegar over the shells before adding the feta. Another added honey to the tomato sauce. Adding a little sweetener of some kind cuts through the acid of the tomato.
One cook added raisins which I thought was a great idea but my traditional greek person who loves this dish would never eat it with raisins. This same cook also served them with greek yoghurt.
They are always eaten with a big slice of feta cheese, bread and don't forget that glass of wine, after all red wine is very much part of the mediterranean diet.
If you don't like eggplant then try this recipe with zuchhini. Same method. Cut them in half, score them, bake till soft, hollow out and fill with the tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs etc
Housewives used to salt the eggplant and soak them in water for an hour to remove the bitterness. Waste of time. I've never done that and they have never been bitter.
Enjoy your food!
An added note, nothing to do with eggplant. Thunder has been rumbling around for over an hour and the sky is lit up with really bright lightening flashes. The storm rumbled round and round us and finally the rain has started. Not enough to really water the garden though. It is beautiful and cool now and I have been standing on the terrace enjoying the show. Methinks it will only be a short one before it rumbles on over towards Athens.