Melitzanes me tyria (Greek Eggplants with Cheese) is a deconstructed imam bayildi recipe I made, which however, is much lighter and healthier by roasting the eggplants and even tastier by adding peppermint and Greek cheeses, graviera and feta, which also add to the flavour. If you do not have any peppermint, you can replace it with mint.
In Greece we have a local variety of eggplants (aubergines) called Tsakonikes, named after the region they are produced (Tsakonia) Kynouria, a region in Arcadia, Peloponnese.
These eggplants are long, thin, seedless and very sweet, so you don’t have to salt them to draw out bitterness. It is a product of protected designation of origin (PDO) which it acquired in 1996 with many other agricultural products from the European Union.
However, if the type of eggpants you use are bitter, follow the steps below:
How to Remove Bitterness from Eggplants:
- Cut off the stems then cut the eggplants into slices.
- Sprinkle liberally with salt and leave for 20 minutes. Thos will remove much of the bitterness and draw out some moisture and they will not absorb a lot of oil during the frying process.
- Wash to remove salt and drain before cooking.
They can be cooked with or without the peel. If you peel the aubergine, cook immediately as when exposed to air peeled eggplants brown quickly.
Eggplants are like sponge, so they absorb juices and flavours you add to them. Eggplants love onions, garlic, herbs and tomato sauce.
As I said in a previous recipe, if you don’t like raw garlic you can skip it and use only roasted garlic.
I also made Lentils with Bulgur using roasted garlic. You can seethe recipe here.
Melitzanes me tyria (Eggplants with Cheese) – Recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Baking time: about 1 hour
Serves: 5 – 6
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 500 grams eggplants (about 6)
- 500 grams fresh tomatoes, peeled and pureed
- 1 can (500 grams) tinned tomatoes, pureed
- 1 heaped tbsp tomato paste
- 3 medium red onions, cut into thin slices
- 6 thin green onions, including green leaves
- 4 – 5 cloves roasted garlic, chopped
- 1 clove raw garlic, finely chopped
- 4 – 5 tbsp garlic olive oil plus a couple tbsp raw
- 250 grams graviera of Crete or ladotyri Mytilinis, cut into small pieces
- 170 grams feta, cut into small pieces
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp dried peppermint
- 1 cup parsley finely chopped
- A pinch of oregano
- Preheat oven to 180o C / 350o F.
- Wash, drain and cut the eggplants into 1 cm round slices. Put them in a bowl and add the olive oil and mix well to coat the eggplants.
- Line a baking tin with parchment paper and put the eggplants.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until soft. Remove to the bowl we cut them in and sprinkle with some pepper, oregano, add parsley, peppermint and cheeses reserving some for the top. Mix them well.
- While the eggplants are baking, in a large skillet add 4 – 5 more tbsp garlic infused olive oil as well as a few tbsp more fresh olive oil.
- Heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the green onions as well as the raw and roasted garlic and season with a little salt (just a little as the cheeses are salty), pepper and sugar and sauté for a few minutes.
- Finally add the tomatoes, mix and simmer until all the juices are absorbed.
- In a casserole dish add the eggplants and top with the tomato sauce.
- Add the remaining cheeses on top.
- Bake for about 1 hour until the sauce becomes thick.
- Serve hot or cold with a salad.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,