Imam Bayildi

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium or 4 small eggplants, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced very thin
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ pounds (3 large or 6 medium) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil (optional)
  •  Salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and brush with olive oil. Slit the eggplants down the middle, being careful not to cut through the skin. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until the outer skin begins to shrivel. Remove from the oven and transfer, cut side down, to a colander set in the sink. Allow to drain for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, lidded skillet and add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are very tender, 5 to 8 minutes, and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds to a minute, until fragrant. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Add the tomatoes, herbs, salt to taste and 1 teaspoon of the sugar and 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil.
  3. Turn the eggplants over and place in the pan, cut side up. Season with salt. Fill with the onion and tomato mixture. Mix together the remaining olive oil, the remaining sugar, the water and the lemon juice. Drizzle over and around the eggplants. Cover the pan and place over low heat. Cook gently for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, checking the pan for liquid and basting from time to time with the liquid in the pan, and adding water to the pan if it becomes too dry. By the end of cooking the eggplants should be practically flat and the liquid in the pan slightly caramelized. Spoon this juice over the eggplant. Allow to cool in the pan, and serve at room temperature.

Tip

  • Advance preparation: You can roast the eggplant through Step 1 and make the filling through Step 2 several hours before assembling and cooking the imam bayildi. Once cooked, the finished dish can sit for several hours.
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Pizza del Giorno

5 cups halved, sliced yellow or red onions (about 1 1/2 pounds)
8 oz. spicy fully-cooked smoked sausage, sliced
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 12-inch pizza crust
1/4 c broken walnuts, toasted
8 oz. mozzarella, sliced
1 TBS chopped fresh oregano
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 c roasted red bell pepper or pimento strips

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Saute the onions with the sausage in olive oil in a large skillet for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender.  Add a little more oil if needed.  Add the balsamic vinegar and mix.  Place the onion-sausage mixture onto the pizza crust.  Top with walnuts, cheese, chopped herbs and bell pepper or pimento strips.  Bake 15 minutes or until heated through.

Makes 6 servings.

Mediterranean Chicken

INGREDIENTS:
8 skinned and boned chicken thighs or 2 skinned and boned chicken breasts (cut breasts in halves and then in half crosswise)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 TBS olive oil
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, crushed
3/4 cup dry red wine
one 28 oz bottle diced tomatoes, undrained
2 TBS balsamic vinegar
9 ounces artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 cup putted green olives (i.e. Greek or French in brine), cut in half
1/4 cup putted black olives (i.e. kalamata), cut in half
2 TBS drained capers
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

DIRECTIONS:
Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste.  Heat the oil in a 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Brown chicken, a few pieces at a time, 4 minutes total for each batch (2 minutes for breasts).  Remove browned chicken pieces to a platter.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until translucent and beginning to lightly brown, about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and thyme and cook 1 minute.  Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen browned bits and incorporate them into the liquid.  Stir in the tomatoes and vinegar.

Return the chicken to the pan and add the artichokes, both kinds of olives, and the capers.  Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the chicken is done, about 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Avgolemeno Soup (Greek Chicken Lemon Soup)

Ingredients
1 (3 pound) free range chicken
12 cups cold water
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 leek, cleaned and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups finely diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
2/3 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Directions
In a 6 to 8-quart stockpot, combine the chicken, water, and 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; immediately reduce the heat to a very low simmer, and skim the foam from the surface. Add the leek, carrot, and bay leaves and continue to simmer with the chicken until the chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Remove chicken from the broth, and allow meat to cool. Strain the broth and skim the fat. (Place the broth in the refrigerator to make it easier to skim.)

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Dice the meat into large cubes; refrigerate until ready to use.

Return the broth to high heat, add the rice and onion and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is almost cooked through, about 20 minutes. Add the chicken and reduce the broth to a low simmer.

In a medium sized bowl, beat the lemon juice, eggs, and pepper. Ladle 2 cups of hot broth into a measuring cup with a pourable spout. While whisking, slowly pour the 2 cups of broth into the egg mixture. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot with the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt. Stir well to blend. Divide among bowls and serve immediately.

Gelato Siciliano

from Saveur

serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I sift the cocoa to remove any lumps)

Instructions:

Bring 2 cups of milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat; remove from heat. Meanwhile, combine 1 cup milk with sugar, cornstarch and cocoa in a bowl and stir into hot milk. Cook until sugar and cocoa dissolve. Allow to cool, then cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.  Process mixture in an ice cream maker.  You don’t need to churn it as long as you do ice cream – you want it to just be a custard sort of consistency, not completely frozen.Store in the freezer in a container with plastic wrap pressed right on top. It’s best the day you make it.  If it freezes hard, just remove it 10 minutes before you plan of serving it.

Focaccia Flat Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix in the vegetable oil and water.
  2. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.