This beautiful traditional Greek recipe is a wonderful wholesome vegetarian meal option that celebrates the eggplant, such a widely used vegetable in Mediterranean cuisine. The ‘papoutsakia’, or ‘little slippers’ form the perfect vessel for holding the tasty filling. While it is commonly referred to as ‘Papoutsakia’ in Greek, mum always refers to it in its Turkish name, ‘Imam Bayildi’, which translates to ‘the Prophet fainted’. Legend has it that the Prophet ate this dish and fainted because it tasted so amazing.
This recipe has been in our family for as long as we can remember, and forms part of mum’s staple repertoire of our favourite family meals. The cherry tomatoes work beautifully in this traditional classic, by offering a bursting pop of sweetness when you bight into them. The tomatoes work in perfect harmony with the creamy flesh of the eggplant, and the caramelised onions and garlic, creating a mouth-watering meal.
The Mutti tomatoes are perfect in this recipe, for the full Mutti product range visit https://www.mutti-parma.com/au.
- 2 large (or 3 medium) eggplants
- Olive oil spray
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 red onions
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 large cloves garlic, cut into thin slices
- 1 large red chilli, finely chopped
- 400g tin Mutti cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- cracked pepper
- 80 grams feta cheese
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Cut the eggplants in half length ways
- Using a small spoon, hollow out the flesh of each eggplant, leaving 1cm of flesh, or enough to create a vessel for filling. Reserve the eggplant that has been scooped out.
- Spray a large baking tray liberally with olive oil spray. Place the hollowed eggplants onto the tray and spray them very liberally with olive oil spray. Sprinkle them with the 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
- Place them in an oven at 180 degrees Celsius, and bake for 40 minutes, or until the eggplants have started to soften and brown slightly.
- While the eggplants are baking, prepare the filling. Dice the eggplant that you scooped out previously into small squares.
- Place the diced eggplant, onion and 1/4 cup olive oil in a large frying pan. Stir, ensuring all the ingredients have been well coated by the olive oil. Switch the heat onto medium to high, and cook until the eggplant has softened and the onion is translucent and soft. Ensure you stir every so often during this process so the vegetables cook evenly, for approximately 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and chili to the pan and cook for a further 4 minutes, or until the ingredients start to brown slightly in colour and caramelise.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and parsley to the pan and stir through. Add the teaspoon of salt to the pan, and season with cracked pepper. Remove the filling mixture from the heat.
- Fill the prepared eggplant shells with the filling, evenly distributing the filling between the eggplants
- Cut the feta into small thin square pieces, and place on top of the filled eggplants. Drizzle the eggplants liberally with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.