Side Dishes/Appetizers

Eggplants Stuffed w/Garlic Cloves, Tomatoes, and Parsley-Turkey

I could eat eggplants every day, that’s how much I like them (although I do feel the British name for them-aubergine-sounds a lot more refined). Countries like Greece and Turkey are at the top of my list to visit, especially since these are two countries where the aubergine is a prevalent sight in the local cuisine.

I tried out this recipe to accompany the grilled chicken I had made and while the author of the cookbook said to serve them either cold or at room temperature, I served them right out of the oven. I love aubergines but not necessarily as a cold dish. An added plus was that the recipe calls for parsley of which I have a ton of growing outside. And just a note about the recipe-while it seems like a lot, the author was just “word heavy.” If really didn’t take that long to prepare, but there are a couple of steps that there were long intervals between that and the next one so just take note.

Eggplants Stuffed with Garlic Cloves, Tomatoes, and Parsley-

recipe courtesy of Classical Turkish Cooking by Ayla Algar

1 1/2 pounds Japanese eggplant (I used the standard kind since that’s all my grocery store had-but just adjust accordingly with the filling if you do this)
2 to 3 tablespoons fine olive oil

1 large onion (about 1 1/2 cups sliced paper-thin)
18 small garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1/4 cup plus 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Chopped parsley
Lemon juice

Peel eggplants lengthwise in a striped fashion. Peel around the stem, sprinkle generously with salt, and allow to sit 45 minutes. Rinse with water and squeeze dry. Fry in olive oil over medium-low heat, turning on all sides. The eggplants should have a rich golden color all over. Set aside. 

For the filling, cook onions and garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-low heat about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are very soft. Do not allow them to brown. Add tomatoes and cook 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, 1/2 cup parsley, and season with salt. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Place eggplants in a heavy-bottomed shallow baking dish in one layer, side by side. Slit each eggplant open lengthwise, creating a cavity. Take care not to cut through. Enlarge the cavities with your fingers, pulling the sides gently in opposite directions so they will hold as much of the filling as possible. Stuff generously with the filling and sprinkle with the remaining oil. Add 1 cup hot water, cover, and bake for about 1 hour or until the eggplants are very tender when pierced with a fork. Check the water content during cooking and add hot water as needed. The finished dish should have only a few tablespoons of liquid. If there is more liquid, boil rapidly a few minutes to reduce. Alternatively, you can cook this dish on a stovetop. Remove from oven and cool. 

Arrange on a platter, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve. It will keep 2 or 3 days. Serve cold or at room temperature, sprinkled with parsley and a little lemon juice, accompanied by crusty bread. 

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