FOODS WE LOVE: Eggplant
Eggplant, also known by the French word "aubergine," comes to us in a beautiful dark purple color. It is actually a fruit and belongs to the nightshade family of plants, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, and hot peppers. Nightshades are foods that can contain alkaloids, which can impact nerve-muscle function and digestive function in highly sensitive people, however most people can enjoy these foods without any negative reaction.
Early accounts suggests that the cultivation of eggplant began during the fifth century in China, and it made its way to Europe during the eighth century Moorish invasion. During the 13th century, the Italians came into contact with it through trade with Arabs, and after many travels around the world, the eggplant debuted in the United States in the 17th century through European seed imports.
Legend tells of an Imam who married a lady whose dowry included 12 jars of olive oil. For 12 nights, she served him eggplant cooked in olive oil, which Imam loved. But when the wife ran out of olive oil and could not provide the dish any longer, the Imam fainted. This led to a dish now known as Imam Fainted, or "Imam Biyaldi," made of eggplant stuffed with onions and tomatoes and cooked in olive oil.
Which bring us to this recipe for Imam Biyaldi, courtesy of www.Food.com. Clean up any cooking spills with Seventh Generation All-Purpose Natural Cleaner Made With Organic Sunflower and Coconut.
4 medium eggplants
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic, cloves crushed
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
parsley, good handful chopped
3 large tomatoes, blanched, skinned and coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ -1 teaspoon sugar
juice of ½ lemon
- Heat oven to 190°C/375°F
- Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out the flesh from the eggplants and chop.
- Blanch the eggplant shells in boiling water for 2 minutes then drain upside down.
- Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a pan and saute the onion until soft and golden.
- Add crushed garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
- Add parsley, chopped eggplant, tomatoes, green and red pepper, cinnamon, salt and black pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and sugar to taste.
- Arrange the eggplant boats in a baking dish and fill each one with the filling.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.