This dish is heaven for the eggplant-lover. The roasting brings out all of an eggplant's wonderful flavor, and the large vegetable serves as a handy container for the piles of onions and tomatoes. Imam Bayildi is a meal all on its own, but can also be paired with a simple grain.
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tomatoes, chopped
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 medium (or 4 small) eggplants
1 cup tomato purée
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced
prep: 15 minutes
total: 1 hour 30 minutes
large sauté pan
1. Prep the ingredients. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, stir in the onions and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent but not brown, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute.
2. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chopped tomatoes (not the purée) and the parsley. Pour the onion and tomato mixture into a large bowl.
3. With a knife, make a thin, deep cut from one end of each eggplant to the other. Don’t cut all the way through the eggplant: you want to make a small pocket to hold the onion-tomato mixture. Put the eggplants in the sauté pan and gently stuff them with the onion-tomato filling.
4. In a small bowl, stir together the tomato purée with the sugar, salt and lemon juice. Pour the mixture evenly over each eggplant. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until the eggplants are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the lid and let the sauce thicken another 15-20 minutes. Drizzle with more olive oil and serve.