By Marjorie Watkins
When we lived in Crete, there were little white churches scattered over the hills. Their doors were always unlocked and you could go in any time to say your prayers, although you might not find chairs to sit in. The priests were always tall. Greeks are not noted for being tall, but the priests were. You would meet them on the streets, always dressed in long black robes.
This recipe is said to be so good, that when the priest ate it, he fainted! All the herbs in this recipe grow wild in Crete. You can make Imam Baildi in the oven in the morning when it is cool. Serve cold on a hot day.
Imam Baildi (the Priest Fainted) – a recipe to serve hot or cold
3 lbs (10-12) narrow eggplants, 4-6 inches long
⅓ cup olive oil
4 onions, thinly sliced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
2 tsp oregano
½ tsp thyme
1 cup chopped parsley
Put sliced eggplant in salted water for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out excess moisture and pat dry.
Cover the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil (about ¼ cup) and heat until it sizzles when a drop of water lands on it. Fry eggplants lightly on both sides, adding more olive oil if necessary.
In another frying pan, heat enough oil to cover the bottom, and saute onions until soft. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, parsley, salt, oregano, thyme, and green pepper.
Layer with eggplant in 10-inch glass pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve hot or cold.
Kalamata olives (in Crete, they always had them on the table)
Oinos Kokinos (red wine)