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May 7, 2012 05:07 PM

Imam bayildi - perfect summer Summer Shabbat food

If there is a better vegetable dish than Imam bayildi, I don't know about it. Just had some at Hamifgash in Philadelphia - wonderful.

It is the perfect, make ahead and serve at room temp. first course for a summer Shabbat.

Say what you want about the Ottoman sultans, they knew how to eat!

(Imam baylidi translates as: the sultan fainted; presumably from ecstasy over the deliciousness of this dish, though in some versions he fainted upon being told that there was not enough olive oil to make it again tomorrow)

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  1. Have you prepared it? Do you have a recipe?

    9 Replies
    1. re: cheesecake17

      No (blush). I have enjoyed it when eating out. But Cheesecake, I will if you will.

      1. re: AdinaA

        I googled some recipes, and I've actually made something pretty similar. Indian eggplants stuffed with a filling of eggplant, onion, garlic, tomato, red peppers, parsley. Good warm or cold.

        1. re: cheesecake17

          One of the things that makes it nice for Shabbat is how pretty it looks with the stuffed eggplant halves arranged on a platter. It is good warm or cold, but I think its best at room temperature.

          I'm going to try it tonight, improvising on multiple recipes to reduce the olive oil. I suspect the imam fainted when he realized how much olive oil is in the classic recipe.

          1. re: AdinaA

            I arranged it on a really large platter and it looked very elegant. Also I didn't use much oil, and I added water if the vegetables were starting to stick.

            I had an eggplant in the fridge and was going to possibly make this for Shabbat, but the eggplant was kinda old. I peeled it and broiled the slices. Popped it in the freezer and I'll figure out something on Friday.

      2. re: cheesecake17

        So, started with this recipe

        and made some changes, mostly because I think parsely, mint , hint of cinnamon and sugar are important flavors in this dish.

        I also made hummus, and set sliced tomatoes and warmed pita bread on the table. Four of the eggplant halves were eaten tonight, the rest are planned for Shabbat lunch.

        It was delicious, and I seem to be the only one slightly dissatisfied.

        Cheesecake, please share your recipe.

        • Eggplant – 6 small (6”) eggplants
        • Olive oil -- 1/2 cup
        • Onions, sliced thinly –3 medium –thinly, then rotated the onion and but the slices in to 34” lengths
        • Garlic, minced -- 6 cloves
        • Tomatoes, peeled, diced – 4 medium
        • Sugar generous tablespoon
        • Lemon juice -- 1 big squeeze
        • Salt and pepper -- to taste
        • 1/3 cup finely chopped parsely
        • 1/3 cup finely chopped mint
        • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

        1. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Cut a flat panel from the outside and discard – this will allow the eggplant to lie flat in the baking dish. With a paring knife or sharp-edged spoon, scoop a shallow dish of flesh form the inside of each eggplant. Dice. Arrange them in a large baking dish.
        2. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Heat 1/3 cup of the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium flame. Add the onions and simmer until just translucent. Add garlic. When the onions are transparent, add the eggplant you removed and the tomatoes.
        3. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until they are somewhat cooked down. Add sugar, mint, parsley, cinnamon, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
        4. Top each half with onion-tomato mixture. Pour a cup of water into the bottom of the baking dish. Then drizzle the remaining olive oil over the eggplant.
        5. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil and place in the oven. Cook 40 to 50 minutes, or until the eggplant is fully tender. Remove from the oven, cool to room temperature and serve.

        1. re: AdinaA

          I used Indian eggplants. Maybe they were 3".

          Red pepper
          lemon juice

          Slice the stem off the eggplants and slice in half lengthwise.
          Scoop out the eggplant flesh and chop, set aside.
          Finely chop onion, garlic, tomato, red peppers
          Sauté onion until transparent, add more olive oil and add in garlic, tomato, red peppers, eggplant flesh.
          Transfer the vegetables to a bowl. Add salt, pepper, pinch of red pepper flakes, squeeze of lemon. Stir in parsley and mint.
          In the meantime, brush eggplant flesh with oil and bake until starting to collapse. The eggplants should come out of the oven around the time the vegetables are cooked.

          Fill eggplant halves with vegetable mixture. Arrange in a Pyrex with a bit of water on the bottom.
          Bake until eggplants are warmed through.

          It prob won't take as long as your recipe bc I used tiny eggplants.

          1. re: cheesecake17

            Where is the "like" button when you need it?

            *clicking on imaginary "like" button*

        2. re: cheesecake17

          I have a recipe from "The Victory Garden Cookbook" by Marian Morash from way back when. It's lovely.

          3 3/4 lb eggplants
          6 medium onions
          6 large ripe tomatoes
          6 cloves garlic
          1/2 cup olive oil
          Freshly ground black pepper
          1/4-1/2 cup parsley

          Cut off the stemmed ends of eggplants. Peel off strips of skin about 1 inch wide lengthwise at 1-inch intervals. Halve the eggplants lengthwise. Slash the flesh diagonally (both ways) and sprinkle with salt. Place the halves on a platter with a heavy weight on top (ASIDE: I use a second plant and large bags of dried beans or rice) for at least 30 minutes. Slice the onions into rings (I do vertical slices into crescents). Peel, seed, and coarsely chop the tomatoes. Mince the garlic.

          Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and saute the onions until soft and lightly browned, 5-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, saute for 5-10 minutes longer, and set aside.

          Squeeze the eggplants and dry on paper towel. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil and saute them, flesh side down until nicely browned. This will probably have to be done in two batches. Place in a pan that will hold all 6 halves snugly, or divide into two pans, flesh side up. Gently press the tomato-onion mixture over the eggplant, pressing into the slashes wherever possible. Sprinkle garlic over each one. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with remaining oil, and pour in enough water to come about a third of the way up the sides of the eggplants. Bring water to a boil, cover, and simmer gently until the eggplants are tender. (Cooking time will vary on the size of the eggplants. Start checking after about 20 minutes.) Cool, sprinkle with parsley and serve cold.

          NOTE: I usually saute the garlic with the onion-tomato mixture, don't add the drizzle of oil at the end, and serve either hot or cold - it is delicious either way.