Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Recipe - Spiced Stuffed Eggplant

I was quite please with this recipe. It's completely vegan, but entirely full of flavor. It's spicy (cayenne), sweet (sugar), bitter (eggplant), and all around yummy. It will definitely make my list of recipes to make again.

Imam bayildi (spiced stuffed eggplant)
2/3 cups olive oil
4 whole eggplants (of the Asian eggplant variety, or 2 regular eggplants)
1 cup passata (I used a couple T of tomato paste instead)
t sugar
juice of 1 lemon
4 ripe tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
T ground cumin
T ground coriander
1/2 t cayenne
2 onions, finely diced
2/3 c currants
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Score the tomatoes with a sharp knife, ten blanch in boiling water until skins start to peel back. Put tomatoes in a sieve and let cool (or run water over them until cool). Remove skins and seeds and dice the rest. Set aside

Dice one of the eggplants and cook in hot oil until golden brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, cook garlic, cumin, coriander and cayenne until fragrant. Add the onion, reduce heat, and cook until softened. Stir in the cooked eggplant and diced tomato. Sprinkle the parsley and mix together. Season with salt and pepper.

Take the other eggplant, cut the top off, and peel thin strips off the flesh so that it is striped white and purple (I have no idea how this affects how the recipe comes out, but it looks kinda cool). Slice the eggplant down the middle, length-wise. For each half, slice it lengthwise again until it is almost cut through and open it like a book. Then slice each half again almost through, so you have an accordion shape (four triangles sticking up, connected at the bottom).

Place accordion-side up on a baking sheet. Top the two eggplant halves with the spiced eggplant mixture, filling down into the dips in the eggplant and in between the two pieces. Combine the passata with the sugar, lemon juice, and remaining olive oil and some salt. Pour over eggplants. Cover the dish with aluminum foil (I skipped this and it was fine) and bake for 45-60 minutes until the eggplant has softened and sauce has reduced.

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