Recipe for Swooning Iman (Iman Bayildi)
The history behind this recipe is unique. Rumor has it that this dish was prepared by a Greek cook for an Ottoman iman. The ruler was so taken by the aroma and taste of the dish that he became lightheaded and began to swoon, thus giving the recipe its name! This is a meltingly delicious combination of Mediterranean ingredients.
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Yield: 8 appetizer servings
8 long, small Italian eggplants
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1⁄4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1⁄2 cup water
Cut the stems off the eggplants.
Cut alternating thin strips of skin from the eggplants so that they look like they have stripes. Cut a deep slit lengthwise into the eggplants, stopping short of the two ends and the bottom.
Place in a bowl of well-salted cold water and let sit for 30 minutes.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large covered deep pan over medium-high heat.
Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook a minute longer. Remove to a bowl. Add the tomatoes and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Drain the eggplant. Squeeze out the moisture and pat dry.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and brown on all sides.
Remove the pan from the heat. Turn the eggplant so that the slit side is up.
Spoon the onion and tomato mixture over the eggplant, being sure to get some into the slits. Combine the lemon juice and water and pour over the eggplant.
Cover and cook at a simmer for 45 minutes.
Cool to room temperature before serving.