Imam Bayildi - Roasted Stuffed Eggplant
This Turkish dish features the freshest ingredients possible. Whether it is a side dish or the main course, this delicious dish will definitely satisfy everyone! This is my take on Imam Bayildi, a roasted stuffed eggplant with very simple seasonings, a fast pan sauce and comes together beautifully! This dish is perfect for those who are vegetarians, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and also to those looking to change up Meatless Monday nights! You can definitely find these ingredients everywhere and it is very easy to make!
INGREDIENTS: 3 Eggplants, small, partially peeled 8oz Tomatoes, freshly diced 6oz White Onion, finely diced 4oz Asparagus, bottoms removed, sliced thin 4oz Zucchini and Summer Sqash, sliced thin or smal dice 2oz Garlic, finely minced
Cilantro - small handful, finely chopped Mint - small handful, finely chopped
Oilve oil Kosher salt, to taste Black Pepper to taste
SPICED TOMATO SAUCE: 8oz Tomato sauce 3oz Water 3oz Olive oil 3TB Red Wine Vinegar 2TB Pomegranate Molasses 1 TB Cardamom powder 1 TB Cumin powder
Kosher salt, to taste Black pepper, to taste
Oven set to 425°F/218°C
Wash your eggplant before beginning. With a peeler, take four even peeled strips off of each eggplant. Into a large bowl filled half way with water and 1/3 cup kosher salt, you will place your prepped eggplant and put a plate on top to keep the eggplant submerged. Leave the eggplant for approximately 30-45 minutes.
While the eggplant brines, begin your prep work. You will want to try to keep the size of your vegetable cuts relatively the same. Once your prep work has been completed, your eggplants are ready to be prepped for the oven. Drain the eggplants from the brine and pat dry. In a roasting pan with olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper, place your eggplant in the pan. Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Once your 30 minute timer is up, remove the eggplant from the oven and allow to slightly cool. Next, into a saute pan on medium-high heat, generously coat with olive oil. Add your vegetables, kosher salt and black pepper. Saute for approximately three to five minutes. Add your fresh herbs and mix well. Cook this for another 30 seconds and remove the mixture to a bowl.
In the same saute pan, add another generous coating of olive oil on same heat and add your tomato sauce first. You want this to cook through for a couple of minutes as this will appear to start thickening. Add your water, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and remainder of spices to the pan and stir this until thoroughly incorporated. This should come together in less than five minutes. At the end, add your pomegranate molasses and mix well. Shut the heat off.
Take your roasting pan of eggplant - and make a vertical cut to form a pocket. Take your vegetable saute and stuff each eggplant until full. Be gentle to avoid tearing the eggplant open. With the spiced tomato sauce, ladle some on top of the vegetable stuffing and the rest into the pan.
Return the roasting pan to the oven and set the timer for another 30 minutes.
Serve with some of the pan sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs, scallions, etc.
Great filler ingredients can be wild rice, lentils, beans and/or chickpeas.