When you think about it, just about every culture has its own version of an eggplant spread. Iran has no shortage of its own variety of eggplant dishes. As a matter of fact, it has been said that eggplants are the potatoes of Iran.
Eggplants are so easy to love for their flavor, texture, and adaptability to the flavors you offer it – and for those exact reasons, it is also easy to dislike!
Throughout my years of teaching cooking classes and engaging with students about eggplants, I have not come across any other vegetable that was so controversial!
As an adult, I have come to love eggplants, though it was not always a lovefest of a relationship.
As a kid, eggplant was not a vegetable I wanted anything to do with. When you grow up in a culture that has so many eggplant dishes, you are faced with a decision.
You either have to learn the necessary skills required to convince your mother why you should be pitied and allowed to eat hotdogs on the days she made an eggplant dish, or simply accept your faith to go hungry or surrender!
- 4 Italian eggplants, medium sized
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt, adjust to your taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground
- 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
- 6 ripe tomatoes, diced
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
- Roast the eggplants over an open flame on the stovetop or on the grill until all sides are completely blackened, and the center begins to soften about 15-20 minutes.
- Alternatively, they can be broiled or roasted in a high-temperature oven, though they will not have the smokey flavor that is typically associated with this dish. Be sure to poke the eggplants with a fork so that the steam has a way to exit and prevent them from bursting.
- Once cooled to room temperature, remove the charred skin and roughly chop the eggplants. Set aside.
- In the meantime, saute the diced shallots in olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until they are lightly golden.
- Add garlic, salt, pepper, and turmeric, and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped eggplants and tomatoes, stir, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes over low heat.
- Using a spoon, pull back some of the eggplants to make space to crack an egg in. Continue until all the eggs have been cracked into the pan.
- Cover and cook for about 5 minutes over low heat. The eggs should be cooked, but somewhat soft and runny.
- Alternatively, the eggs can be mixed into the eggplant mixture to create a uniform consistency.
- Add chopped fresh basil on top and serve with your favorite Persian flatbread.