An Imam is a Muslim religious leader. "Baildi" means fainted in Tourkish. The story has it that one day he came home from work and his wife had made this dish. He liked it so much that he gobbled it up so fast, he fainted. lol
This is a Tourkish dish and brought to Greece in 1912 when the greek population was turned away. Ever since it has become a famous dish here also.
Although I'm not a eggplant fan I do make this dish quite often during the summer for family and friends. Hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.
I borrowed the photo til I make this dish again and take a photo of mine
1Rinse the eggplants thoroughly and cut off a slice from one end. Leave the stem. Give them a zebra-like appearance by peeling stripes (one white stripe-one purple stripe). Score them lengthwise on one side only. Widen the slit in the middle section to give the eggplants a boat like appearance.
2Soak them in a bowl filled with slightly salted water and leave them for 30min until opened up and soft. This will help to lessen the bitterness.
3Score crosswise the skin of the tomatoes on the top and peel it off by immersing them in boiled water for a few seconds. Cut them in the middle and deseed them with a spoon. Then chop them finely with a sharp knife. Cut the onions in thin slices and chop the garlic cloves finely. Place them in a bowl, add the tomatoes, parsley, salt, pepper and sugar. Combine everything well.
4Remove the eggplant from the salted water, squeeze them well and fill the wide slit in their middle with the tomato mix. Pour the remaining tomato over. In the meantime, make sure you preheat the oven to 375*F.
5Place them in a baking pan, one alongside the other, and sprinkle them with the lemon juice, olive oil and 1 cup of water. Cover the pan with a sheet of greaseproof paper and put a lid on, or just use tin foil to seal the top.
6Alternatively bake them in a clay-pot. Bake them for 45minutes to 1h to reduce all liquid. Uncover towards the end of baking time. Serve hot or cold
7I sprinkle with grated feta cheese just before they’re done. This dish can be served warm or at room temperature with a piece of feta cheese on the side.
8Note: In the authentic recipe the tomato, onion,garlic & parsley sauteed in olive oil and then added to the eggplant widen slit and then baked in the oven.
My family prefers not to sautee. Either way it's delicious.