Imam Biyaldi

(from Imam Biyaldi or The Pleasures of Late Summer)

Ingredients:

  • 4 small Italian eggplants
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Peel 3-4 strips 1/3 inch wide down each eggplant, so it has a striped appearance,
  • rub with olive oil and salt, put in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake for an hour.
  • Sauce for Imam Biyaldi
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • medium yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 lbs. tomatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 TBS. finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
Add olive oil to a saute pan, heat, add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic, stir so it turns golden but doesn’t brown. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Turn the heat down and simmer about ten minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened and the sauce has thickened. Add the parsley, stir, and turn off the heat.

To assemble:
Cut a slit in each eggplant that stops about 1/4 inch from the bottom. Push gently on the top and bottom of the eggplant to widen the opening. Add a quarter of the sauce to each eggplant. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. ( I serve it warm with rice to which I’ve added just a bit of saffron for color and that lovely fragrance.) Flat breads are a nice addition, too.