Imam Bayildi ( The Priest Fainted) is one of the most well-known Turkish “Zeytinyagli” Olive Oil Dishes.
In the orginal recipe, fried eggplant stuffed with tomato, onion, garlic and parsley, baked in the oven and served cold.
My version of Imam Bayildi is lighter and easier than the original one.
4 medium-sized eggplants
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 lbs tomatoes, blanched, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon caster sugar
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 425° F
Peel eggplants leaving lenghtwise stripes, cut in to 1-inch cubes, soak in salted water for 30 minutes, then drain and dry them.
Using a large pan over medium high heat, sauté onions and garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and parsley, season with salt, pepper and sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring ocasionally about 15 minutes.
While sauce is simmiring, place eggplants in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, toss until the eggplant cubes are well coated. Transfer the eggplants to a large sized oven-proof pan and spread out in to one layer. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes or until browned slightly.
Remove the pan from the oven. Place the roasted eggplants in the baking dish, spread tomato sauce evenly to cover the eggplants.
Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven
Serve cold and sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving
Why did the priest faint? You’ll see :) )