The story behind the name of this Turkish dish is rather long (see the accompanying Gastronomer column). But this much can be said: The original recipe called for a lot of olive oil. Although this modern version is more limited in its use of oil, it should still be a rich dish.
It is traditionally served at a cool room temperature, but the dish is also good served warm.
- 2 large eggplants (about 2 3/4 pounds total)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 to 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 3 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley, or more to taste
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 medium lemon, cut into quarters, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Placing them flesh side up, make several diagonal slashes in the flesh without piercing the skin. Lightly season with salt.
Combine the onion, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, salt to taste and about half of the oil in a medium bowl; mix well.
Place the eggplant halves in a roasting pan, flesh side up. Divide the vegetable mixture evenly among them, using it to cover the eggplant flesh completely. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven; lightly shake each half so the vegetable mixture settles into the slashed flesh.
Combine the remaining oil and the sugar; pour it over the eggplant halves. Cover and return to the oven; bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the eggplants have softened and started to collapse.
Before serving, spoon over any oil that has collected in the pan.
Serve hot, with lemon quarters on the side.
From Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad.
Tested by Kathleen Hom.
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