Mirza Ghasemi Take Two
Last year for Eid I made a Persian eggplant dish, Mirza Ghasemi. Since then, I’ve made it several times and its become one of my favorite dishes, although a complicated one I don’t make too often. Well, now that it is summer, and eggplant is back in season, I decided to revisit this lovely dish. Then, I had a brilliant idea (partially because I forgot to buy pita bread) – I could stick it in filo and make a delicious savory pastry! So that is precisely what I did.
½ large eggplant or 1 smallish eggplant
1-2 medium tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 onion, chopped
1 tsp ground ginger or turmeric (to taste)
Fresh parsley (chopped, to taste)
Fresh mint (chopped, to taste)
Lightly coat the eggplant in olive oil. Roast at 400 until the eggplant is soft. To test, press the skin of the eggplant. If it collapses a bit, it’s done. Once the eggplant is cool enough to touch, scoop out the insides. Mash/chop/puree the cooked eggplant. This breaks up the fibrous clumps. Place in a bowl.
Heat some olive oil in a medium frying pan. Add the garlic and onions. After a few minutes, add the salt, pepper, ginger, and eggplant. After a few more minutes, add the tomatoes. Cook (mashing up any lumps) until the tomatoes have largely broken down, and mixed with the eggplant. Add the fresh mint and parsley. Set aside to cool. One cool, add one egg and a couple ounces of feta cheese.
Assembly: Take the thawed filo dough. Fold a sheet into quarters. Brush with melted butter. If you don’t have a pastry brush (like me – somehow I manage to not have one, not sure why) then you can spoon on some butter and spread it with the back of a spoon – it totally works. Add a plop – about a 1/4 cup, of the mirza ghasemi mixture on one end of the filo. The fold the filo up like a flag in order to create a lovely triangle. For those of you who weren’t girl (or boy) scouts like yours truly, here is a handy (US-centric) website – start at step 4. Stick the triangles on a baking tray and bake at 400 until golden brown – about 20-30 minutes.
Not the most exciting looking, but its what’s on the inside that counts
The result was really really good. Sadly, it wasn’t great. The flavors were a bit muted for my taste. I think it was double cooking the herbs or maybe not using enough spices, or both. Next time, I will add the parsley and mint in with the eggs and feta, so they don’t lose any of their flavor, or that the very least, lose less of it. The filo was delicious – though again, the downside is that when you reheat filo in a microwave, it doesn’t remain crispy. Again though, something coming out a 9 instead of a 10 is nothing to sneeze at. Given the flavors and the season, serve this with a light, white wine – red would be too heavy. Finally, this week’s song – “Along Comes Mary” by the Association. It’s a fun song with nearly indecipherable lyrics – it took me forever and reading them repeatedly before I got even half of them.