Yes, this is indeed another Didem Şenol recipe.
I seem to be mesmerised by her recipes. And why not? They are seasonal which is what I am all about, and her book is extremely attractive with mouth-watering photographs of dishes using the same old ingredients in ground-breaking new ways.
I do have some quibbles however: she specifies the most minute amounts in grams whereas it would be so much simpler if she just stuck to spoonfuls eg half a teaspoon or used measurements like a pinch of this, a glug of that.
Also her instructions do sometimes leave a little bit to the imagination and I can imagine that to the new cook, this could be somewhat confusing. And I have a little bit of a problem with her way of describing what to do: I cut the tomatoes …. I let them sit in a sieve …why not just say Cut …, let them sit ….?
Plus, like all the Turkish cookbooks I have seen, the index is just not user-friendly: they are all the same, it’s virtually impossible to find a recipe second-time round because there is no logical system.
But gripes aside, I love her approach because it brings a whole new dimension to Turkish cooking which has for so long been stuck in a rut, and the photographs in her book Aegean Flavours are fabulous.
This particular recipe calls specifically for Datça tomatoes. (Datça is in south west Turkey). Well, I can’t imagine any tomatoes being any better than Çanakkale tomatoes at this time of year so this is what I have used.
Çanakkale is on the way to Assos ie north west Turkey and they are the ultimate in my opinion. Anyway, use the nicest, juiciest summer tomatoes you can find.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F degrees.
- Thickly slice the tomatoes and add the crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roughly chop the basil and oregano and add to the tomatoes. Set aside to marinate for 15-30 minutes.
Slice the aubergines lengthwise, salt and put aside. I actually peeled them in stripes since this is what we tend to here in Turkey. The salting is to draw out the bitter juices. After 15 minutes or so, rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
- Remove the tomatoes from the marinade and marinate the aubergines for 15-30 minutes in the same marinade.
- Slice the goat’s cheese like this:
- Layer the slices of tomato, aubergine and cheese ideally in earthenware casserole dishes. Individual ones are fine but so is a larger one which is what I used. Didem says layer them so ‘they form a rising cylinder’ – not quite sure what she means here but I presume something like this:
- The recipe says to cook for 6-8 minutes but I beg to differ: the aubergine isn’t cooked, don’t forget, so I say 30 minutes.
Daughter No 2 and I really enjoyed this dish as the aubergines hadn’t been fried in oil so it was relatively light. BUT I do have a sneaking feeling that tastewise, the dish would have tasted that bit better if they had!
I’m surprised that Didem doesn’t serve this dish with yogurt, to tell you the truth!