Imam bayildi, a gourmet pearl, is one of the most famous specialties of Turkish cuisine. It is a dish brought by the Otomans, but it is no longer prepared in its homeland. The locals have preserved the recipe and today they prepare this dish of blue eggplant in olive oil. Imam bayildi can be served both as a hot and as a cold appetizer. Not only does it taste great, but it also has a funny story to enjoy.
The story of Imam Bayildi is passed down from generation to generation and testifies to an Imam (Muslim preast) who was known for his good appetite and love for food. Namely, one day the imam invited his friends in honor of the engagement celebration with the beautiful daughter of a rich olive oil merchant. As a dowry, the imam received the highest quality olive oil and it is said that the bottles were the size of a man. After the wedding, the young girl very quickly discovered her culinary talents, and every day she prepared a new dish for her husband who was a great gourmet. Stuffed eggplant in olive oil was his favorite dish that was prepared every night. Since she was a loving wife, she prepared this dish for twelve days in a row. On the thirteenth day when the imam sat down to dinner, his favorite dish was not on the table… Surprised by that, he asked his wife what was the reason for getting the answer that there was no more olive oil. Shocked by this news, he fainted. And so, from that day on, his favorite dish is known as “imam bayildi” (unconscious imam).