Sometimes, I sit on my couch with a bowl of Cheerios and almond milk. And that’s just fine.
But sometimes, I get the urge to cook. And when I do, I usually go all out.
Not long ago, I began craving one of those recipes that didn’t require a ton of new, expensive ingredients (ones that would likely go unused after). But I also wanted one that would satisfy my need for a hearty, veggie-filled meal.
Naturally, I went to my Turkish cookbook — an amazing resource for just these types of dishes (and for lamb-based recipes, if you’re into that sort of thing, even if it’s not really my cup of tea).
The recipe I landed on: Eggplants with White Cheese. Part of the intrigue was the fact that the main ingredient was Italian eggplants, which is something I’d never used before. Potential disaster? Bring it on. I love a good challenge in the kitchen.
The dish turned out to be fairly simple despite the lengthy prep time. Plus, it’s completely vegetarian — and if you’re a vegan, you can simply remove the cheese from the mix, and call it a day.
Craving a little Mediterranean home cooking? Then I highly recommend it. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
What You’ll Need
Water for soaking eggplant plus 1/3 cup
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
5 medium (about 2 pounds) Italian eggplants
2 large onions, thinly sliced in half circles
16 gloves garlic, slivered (quartered lengthwise)
2 green bell peppers, seeded, ribs removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 medium tomatoes, peeled, pureed
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Turkish white cheese, Bulgarian cheese, or ricotta salad, cut into 1/4-inch cubes * confession, I used crumbly mozzarella
4 tablespoons finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
What To Do
1. Fill a large bowl with water and add the lemon juice and salt.
2. Cut the stems off each eggplant, leaving an inch of peel on the top and bottom. Peel off 1/2-inch strips of skin, lengthwise, at 1/2-inch intervals, making a striped effect.
3. Cut eggplant into 4 lengthwise slices, and then cut them into 1-inch-thick crosswise pieces.
4. Place the eggplant pieces in the bowl of water, and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
5. Line the bottom of a large skillet with the onion and garlic slices, and top with the pieces of green pepper.
6. Drain the eggplants, press them gently to get rid of any excess water, and lay them on the green peppers. Cover the eggplants with the cubed and pureed tomatoes.
7. Season with salt and add 1/3 cup water and the olive oil. Bring to a boil for one or two minutes, and then turn the heat to low, cover and continue to cook for 40 to 45 minutes, shaking the pan by the handle 3 or 4 times.
8. When cool, add the cheese and parsley.
Is this something you’d cook? Would you add or modify anything about this recipe?