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Turkish Stuffed Aubergines

In Turkey this dish is called 'Imam Bayildi', or 'The Imam Fainted', because the religious leader (the Imam) allegedly fainted with delight when he first tasted it. Turks usually eat it cold with rice and salad, but it is also delicious served hot.
Preparation time time : 15 minutes,
Soaking time : 30 minutes,
Cooking time : 1 hour,
Oven : Preheat to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6),
Calories per serving: 140

ingredients

serves 4
4 small or 2 medium, long, slim aubergines weighing about 1 lb (450 g)
Salt
1/3 pint (190 ml) tomato juice
1/2 lettuce or 4 oz (115 g) rocket for garnish

h2>For the Stuffing 12 oz (350 g) onions
2 cloves garlic
1 red pepper
6 oz (175 g) tomatoes
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon caster sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped

method

1. Peel the aubergines if desired but leave a thin ring of skin around each end to hold them together. Cut them in half lengthways, sprinkle with salt and leave to sit for 30 minutes to draw out the juices. Rinse them thoroughly and pat dry.

2. To make the stuffing, peel and thinly slice the onions, finely chop the garlic and slice the red pepper. Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds and cold water for 1 minute, then peel away the skins and chop the flesh.

3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onions, garlic and vinegar gently for 5 minutes. Add the pepper, sugar, tomatoes and seasoning. Cook gently for about 15 minutes.

4. Stir in the parsley and set aside. Quickly fry the aubergines in hot oil to brown them all over. Drain them on kitchen paper.

5. Cut a deep slit along the length of the aubergines and spoon in as much stuffing as possible. Lay the aubergines close together, open-side up, in a baking dish with enough tomato juice to almost cover them.

6. Bake for 45 minutes and serve with the salad greens

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