My friend from Iran just finished his PhD. To celebrate, his wife threw him a party. Looking for any reason to cook, I wanted to try a Turkish dish and bring it to the party.
The original recipe was called Stuffed Eggplants (Karniyarik, which means “split belly” in Turkish). Unfortunately it needed several tiny eggplants and here in America, there are only American eggplants, which are of course, American sized. Also, the recipe called for ground meat. I neglected to buy any and I don’t usually have any in stock anyway, so we altered the recipe.
Another friend from Iran came and helped me with it and she was a big help. It’s nice to cook with someone who actually knows what they’re doing. You can look up the recipe for Karniyarik, so I’ll provide the one we made up here. It might have a name, I can’t imagine this combination hasn’t been tried before. If not, I’d like to dub it a Turkish/Iranian/Hungarian dish.
Open Faced Eggplant Cutlets
2 Large American Eggplants
Mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1 White onion cubed
Parsley (fresh is best)
1 tomato, diced
1 tomato, sliced into thin half moons
Green banana peppers (one or two should do it)
Ground Pepper/Sea Salt
Cut the two eggplants lengthwise into 1 cm thick strips. Don’t make them too thin or else they’ll fall apart after frying. In a cast iron skillet, fry up the eggplant until lightly brown and plant on a cookie sheet (preferably one with sides so the oil doesn’t drip off). You can soak up the excess oil with paper towels if you want.
Once all the eggplants are fried and on the cookie sheet, put in your cubed onion in the skillet and add any olive oil, if there’s none left. Cook the onions on medium until they slightly caramelize. Turn the heat to low and add your diced tomatoes and add your salt and pepper. Make sure you put a good amount of salt as it really brings out the flavor of the tomatoes. Add the parsley and chopped banana peppers last after a few minutes of cooking the tomatoes. The reason for adding the peppers and parsley last is to preserve their texture and distinct taste. Cooking them into the mix longer would blend the flavor instead.
If you want, you can salt the top of the eggplants which will help the vegetables stick to the top of the eggplant better. Put a tiny bit of shredded cheddar cheese on top of the eggplants. This will help the vegetables stick to the eggplant. When the vegetables in the skillet are almost ready, put spoonfuls on top of the eggplants. Put some more cheddar cheese on top of the vegetables to seal them all up together. Next add parmesan cheese for added texture. Then put one half moon tomato on top of each eggplant
Put the oven on 400F and cook for about 20 minutes. When the skin of half moon tomatoes are slightly curled, they’re done!
You can serve them in a number of ways including on top of rice, individually, or with plain yogurt.
Let me know if you end up trying this. I want to see if there’s a better way to make it!