I discovered this dish years ago when hunting for an interesting Mediterranean dish to serve for a dinner party. I knew exactly where to go for the most authentic dishes from the region; any cookbook by Paula Wolfert. In her book “The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean” I found just that dish. What could be bad when the Turkish name of this interesting dish is Ali Nazil, the “gentle butterfly”. Like most of her recipes, they were learned the kitchens of local woman who shared the dishes and little tricks that had been handed down for generations by word of mouth.
Ali Nazik – Eggplant-Yogurt Foam with Lamb Crisps
- Oven-proof casserole
- Food processor
- Large nonstick pan
- Strainer and cheesecloth of coffee filter (for draining yogurt)
- Large bowl filled with ice cold water
- 2 large Eggplants, freshest possible
- 10 oz Lamb, thin sliced steak, bone and excess fat removed
- 5 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 2 cloves Garlic, crushed
- 2 cups Low fat yogurt
- 4 tsp Butter
- 2 tsp Olive oil
- Salt, pepper, and Aleppo pepper to taste
- 1 tsp Fresh ground black pepper
- Begin draining yogurt. Pick each eggplant 4 times with a fork. Grill or Bake.To Grill – Over a medium-hot grill, cook eggplants until they get soft and skin is charred. About 30 minutes total. Transfer immediately to a bowl of cold water.To Bake – Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Put eggplants in oven on a baking pan for about 45 minutes. They will look deflated and soft when ready. Transfer immediately to a bowl of cold water.Peel – As soon as eggplant is cool enough to handle, hold it by the stem side and peel off skin from top down. Place peeled eggplants back in bowl with water and add lemon juice and ¼ tsp salt. Let sit for at least 20 minutes.
Prepare Lamb Crisps
- Pound lamb or beef pieces thin, about ⅛-inch. Dice into small cubes, about ⅛-inch.Heat 2 tsp butter and 1 tsp oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add meat and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook 5 minutes more shaking occasionally. Remove cover and season liberally with salt, pepper, and Aleppo pepper (or cayenne).
Finish and Serve
- Preheat oven to 200°F (95°C). Remove eggplant from water and gently squeeze dry. Add eggplant to food processor along with garlic and 1 tsp lemon juice. Pulse 2-3 times to chop. Add yogurt to chopped eggplant. Pulse once or twice more to mix. Add eggplant yogurt mixture to casserole and place in oven to warm. To serve, sprinkle lamb cubes over eggplant-yogurt mixture. Heat remaining 2 tsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add fine-grind pepper and hot red pepper. Let it sizzle for a second and then spoon over the meat. Serve warm.