Fresh Aubergine with Herbs
Aubergine or Eggplant is the summer vegetable which is excellent for cooking vegetarian dishes, it has beautiful colour from creamy white, soft green to purple. There are legendary tales in regard to this beautiful vegetable, such as Aubergine Imam Baaldi, Pope’s Aubergine. Story to tell.
Now is early autumn, but I saw a lot of them in the market at a cheap price, I think it is time to buy and preserve them, I made a spicy dish Brinjal Bhartha or Baingan Bhartha which will be a treat for me If I long for Indian food. Aubergine is a very precious vegetable to cook when you do it right. There are techniques in regard to the preparation and cooking the aubergines.
A lot can be done with aubergines, it seems every country has their own way of cooking. Using herbs, and spices are the key to my cooking with aubergine.
In my kitchen, cooking eggplant (aubergine). It is eggplant to me.
For a quick meal and serve on the day is simply diced and fried or sliced and poached. Diced eggplant, fried in oil with chilli and other spices is excellent to served with steamed rice or serve it as topping for toasted bread. Sliced eggplants poached in coconut milk with hot spices and cook until soft, is delicious to serve with rice too. And more, I would crumb the slices eggplants and fry them to accompany meat dishes and garnished with potatoes. And of course you could add in the ratatouille, what would you do if you don’t have the eggplants for cooking the dish, it does not taste the same.
Baked stuffed eggplants with Fetta cheese and herbs works very well and served it with fresh salad, and bread. The preparation of the stuffed eggplant was so simple and quick, simply cut along the centre, but don’t cut it through. Stuff it with full cream Fetta cheese and dried oregano, salt and thyme,
Brush or drizzle with oil before baking, and bake in a hot oven for 25 minutes or until soft.
Serve hot or warm with a fresh green salad for the garnish.
Another beautiful dish using aubergine is the poor man caviar. It is a smooth pureed of baked aubergine flavoured with herbs, olive oil and lemon juice. Serve as a dip or you could use it as a spread.
Now I like to try the Turkish cookery. Aubergine is very common vegetable over there, and the dish Aubergine Imam Baaldi is one of the Turkish contributions to the world.
I used a large eggplant, but you could use smallish eggplants.
A Large and fresh aubergine, slit it along the entire length without peeling
Scoop out some of the pulp, set aside.
1/4 cup of oil
Aubergine pulps, tomatoes, onions, and currents
Sautee this mixed vegetable and currents in oil until soft
Fill the aubergines with the filling.
Put them onto earthware dish or a pot and pour in some oil to cover them completely. Add thyme and bay leaf. Bake in a medium low heat oven until the aubergines are soft about two hours. Leaf to cool.
This dish should be served very cold. Prepare it the day before it is required, to allow the aubergines to be well saturated in oil.
Imam Baaldi in Turkish means ‘ the priest has fainted’
The legend goes that when aubergines prepared in this way were offered to a certain imam (priest), he was so moved by the fragrant odour of the dish that he fainted from sheer gastronomical joy.
(Based on New Larousse Gastronomique)
Cooking the Imam Baaldi in my Kitchen.
Have fun to try cooking Imam Baaldi (the priest has fainted), well I loved it.
If you think eggplant or aubergine is a second-rate vegetable, you may have to think twice. It makes a celebrated dish on your dinner party such as the Pope’s Aubergines.
More tales about this aubergines.
Pope’s Aubergines is a Provencal aubergine flan which legend tells was created especially for one of the popes of Avignon. It is glorious in flavour, clerical in looks with its sombre base crowned with a golden crust of cheese, the whole surrounded by a scarlet tomato sauce. (Simple French Cuisine by Jenny Baker).
The origin of the name: The name supposedly derives from a tale of a Turkish imam, who swooned with pleasure at the flavour when presented with this dish by his wife, although other more humorous accounts suggest that he fainted upon hearing the cost of the ingredients or the amount of oil used to cook the dish. 
Another folktale related that an imam married the daughter of an olive oil merchant. Her dowry consisted of twelve jars of the finest olive oil, with which she prepared each evening an eggplant dish with tomatoes and onions. On the thirteenth day, there was no eggplant dish at the table. When informed that there was no more olive oil, the imam fainted. (Wikipedia)
The day I served my cooking the stuffed eggplant, my family did not faint, they were in silent instead, as they were enjoying the delicious dish. It’s very pleasing.
Thanks to Aubergine-Eggplant, I had so much fun to cook and enjoyed the dish, also it is good to know the legendary tales of Aubergine Iman Baaldi. Ridiculously funny, so humorous!
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