Imam Bayildi


• 1 medium or large egglplant

• 1 red onion

• at least 4 cloves garlic

• olive oil

• 3–4 large tomatoes

• olive oil

• 1/2 cup water

• 1 tbs honey

• black pepper


1. Remove the top of the eggplant and halve the eggplant. Make a pocket in each eggplant by slitting them from top to tail, not cutting the whole way through. Peel the skin in alternating strips. Rub them inside and out with salt and set aside for half an hour. This sweats out the bitterness. Rinse the eggplants in cold water, and squeeze the flesh with your thumbs to make the pocket bigger.

2. Meanwhile, make a fresh tomato sauce using the red onion and lots of garlic–both diced. Sautee olive oil until golden brown. Add bit of honey, a twist of black pepper, a generous glug of olive oil, and three or four chopped tomatoes. Cover, and let them simmer for ten minutes or so.

3. Back to the eggplants: squeeze them out and fry in enough olive oil to coat the pan until all sides are golden brown. Set them in an oven safe baking dish, stuff the pockets with a generous heap of tomato sauce, add about 1/2 a cup of water and a big splosh of olive oil, and bake them, covered, in a hot oven for about 45 minutes. If your dish doesn't have a lid, cover with aluminum foil.

4. You can serve them hot; but better still give them time to cool and serve at room temperature. You know how good it is to pick at a cold stew? Same thing.