Did you know that eggplant is technically a berry?
As a kid, I never really liked eggplant. I didn't really like garlic either, so the fact that I like and make this recipe is somewhat surprising. But the combination of the eggplant, yogurt, garlic and cilantro is spicy, tangy and satisfying.
This is also one of those recipes that you can make for guests or to take to a party and make a huge impression. It looks unusual and like something that you've put a lot of effort into making. It's up to you whether to burst their bubble by telling them how easy these eggplant really are to make, or let them imagine you to be a great chef.
Note: This recipe is traditionally made by frying the eggplant slices in sunflower oil. Also, the filling is usually made with mayonnaise. I have tweaked it somewhat to make it healthier and, in my opinion, tastier (never have been a mayo fan). If you want to try making the eggplant according to the original recipe, just fry the eggplant slices in hot sunflower or canola oil and drain them on paper towels. For the filling, substitute mayo for the yogurt and then fill and arrange them as directed below.
For my version, you will need:
- 1 large eggplant (this recipe made enough for 5 adults, so if you are making these for a party, you may want to double or triple the recipe)
- salt, for making the eggplant sweat
- extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
- 2 cups Greek-style yogurt
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- salt, to taste
- minced garlic, to taste (I like these fairly spicy, so I usually add about 6-7 cloves)
The first thing to be done is to slice the eggplant into thin rounds.
You will have more than one layer, and it is fine to layer them one on top of the other. Just be sure to salt each layer before laying down more paper towels and starting the next layer.
Also, preheat the broiler while you are letting the eggplant rest.
Once the water has come out of the eggplant, wipe them with paper towels. Then, if your "assistant" still needs a job to do (how big should a kid be before he's old enough to do ALL the housework to burn his energy off?), let him put the eggplant slices onto a baking sheet and brush them with olive oil.
Once they've cooled enough to handle, put about a teaspoon of the yogurt filling on the slice. Fold in half, and place on a plate.