Turkish Eggplant Tomato Casserole

One of my favorite vegetables is eggplant. I am always looking for new ways to cook eggplant. I can never eat enough of Turkish cuisine. It is one of the cuisines I hope to explore more of in the future to cook.

So when I came across Imam Bayildi or Turkish Eggplant Tomato Casserole, I had to make it. While this is a simple recipe, it is time-consuming. About an hour and a half so it isn’t a quick weekday meal, but a leisurely weekend one. Do not let the time scare you off, It is worth making it.

This dish is nice year round. It can be served warm or at room temperature. I have served it with hummus and pita or a cucumber salad. It also would go nicely with roasted or grilled meat.

 

Imam Bayildi Turkish Eggplant Tomato Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of medium-sized eggplant (I prefer Japanese eggplant, but Italian will do) thinly sliced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1-4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided

Preparation

  • 1 Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • 2 Lightly salt the eggplant slices and allow to stand for 20 minutes. Pat the slices dry and set aside.
  • 3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil.
  • 4 .Pan fry the eggplant in batches over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add more oil as necessary between batches so the eggplant doesn't burn, but try not to have too heavy a hand - the pan just needs to be greased.
  • 5. Remove the eggplant to a plate.
  • 6. Add the onion to the skillet and saute over medium heat until soft.
  • 7. Add the garlic, chili flakes, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and cinnamon. Cook for one minute more, until fragrant.
  • 8 Add tomatoes and simmer until thickened slightly, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half the parsley.
  • 9. Spread a layer of tomato sauce in an oven proof casserole dish. Layer eggplant and sauce.
  • 10. Cover with foil or casserole lid and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until the eggplant is very soft and the sauce has reduced.
  • 11. Let it stand for 10 minutes before cutting into it.
  • 12. Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.
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