It's been a while since I've done a food post so it's about time for one. Tonight my sister and I attempted a Persian dish which is basically an eggplant casserole. Our family is Italian and we were trying to tweak this recipe the entire time we were making it. It calls for eggplant, onion, spices, lime, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper and that's all. We kept threatening to add basil, oregano, parmesean cheese and tomato which would essentially make this eggplant parmesean but we were able to control ourselves. And we were glad we did as this turned out to be really great (eventhough it's not Italian). Don't ask me why two (headstrong) Italian Americans were trying to make a Persian dish - it's too complicated to explain. Just know these things happen and sometimes the result is a happy one.
Some chopping is required but not too much.
Saffron - We went to the mediterranean market for the saffron. We couldn't find it on the shelf and had to ask for it. The guy at the market said he kept it in the back, jeez it makes you feel like you're doing something illegal.
Here's the recipe:
2 large or 6 small eggplants (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into thin strips
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil or butter
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron threads, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Peel the eggplants, cut them lengthwise in quarters if they are large, and salt them to remove bitterness if necessary. Brush each side of the eggplant pieces with egg white. In a skillet, heat 4 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the onion and stir-fry for 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the eggplant and garlic and stir-fry 10 minutes longer, until all sides are lightly golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour 4 tablespoons of oil into an 8-inch spring form pan. Break the eggs into a large bowl. Add the parsley, saffron water, lime juice, baking powder, flour, salt, and pepper. Beat thoroughly with a fork. Add the eggplant, onion and garlic and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the dish and bake uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes, until the edge is golden brown. Serve from the baking dish or unmold it by loosening the edge with a knife and inverting the dish onto a serving platter