Imam Bayildi (Middle Eastern Style Stuffed Aubergines)
This classic dish is ideal for those times when you want to prepare a starter or light lunch beforehand. Improvements in the growing of aubergines mean that there are no longer any bitter fluids that need to be drawn out in advance with salt before cooking.
4 large aubergines
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
150mls olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
400g tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
3 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp of lemon juice
Toasted pitta bread to serve
1. Slice the aubergines in half lengthways. Scoop out the flesh, leaving behind a 5mm layer of skin and flesh. Rinse and pat dry with kitchen roll.
2. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and garlic and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the tomatoes and aubergine flesh and cook over a low heat for 10 -15 minutes or until reduced. Stir in the parsley and seasoning to taste.
3. Place the aubergine skins in a shallow oven proof dish then spoon in the filling. Mix the remaining oil with 100mls of water, sugar and lemon juice and pour around the aubergine.
4. Cover with foil and bake at 150ºC/gas mark 2 for 1 hour or until tender. Baste occasionally with oil.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool then chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with toasted pitta bread.