Mirza Ghasemi is a delicious vegetarian Shomali (from North) meal from Gilan Province. To make this simple smoky flavored dish the eggplants are grilled over hot coals or under the broiler element in the oven until the skin is charred. Then the skin is peeled and the flesh is cooked with fresh ripe tomatoes and eggs.
- 7 medium Italian eggplants, unpeeled
- ⅛ tsp kosher salt
- 3 ounces butter, divided
- 5 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 5 ripe Roma tomatoes
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 eggs, to be cracked directly on the cooked eggplant/tomato sauce
Serves for 4 persons.
How too Cook:
1- Prepare your outdoor grill to high heat. Skewer the eggplants and grill them over hot coals or gas grill for 7-8 minutes on each side, or until the skin is charred all over and the eggplants can easily be pierced with a fork. (please see the alternative broiler/stovetop method in the pictured instructions)
2- Carefully pull the eggplants off the skewers and cool just until you can handle them without burning your fingers. Take the stems off and peel and discard the skins. You don’t have to be very meticulous about peeling the skin, some leftover specs of charred skin is fine and adds extra smoky flavor to Mirza Ghasemi. Sprinkle the peeled eggplants with ⅛ tsp kosher salt and roughly chop them. Set aside.
There are two methods for charring the eggplants: On the outdoor grill method the eggplants may be skewered and grilled or placed directly on the grate and grilled until the skin is charred. On the broiler method the eggplants are broiled very close to the heating element for a few minutes on each side then held over the fire from the gas burner on the stovetop for only a couple of minutes, just enough to char the skin. I learned this brilliant broiler/stovetop method from my friend Majid who I enjoyed a cooking session with when he and his lovely wife were visiting a while back. The stovetop method is perfect for winter months when it is too cold to fire up the outdoor grill. You just will have to take my word for it until you try it for yourself, but the couple of minutes on the gas burner does the trick to give the eggplants that smoky flavor.
3- Use a sharp knife to slice the tomatoes very thin, then dice them very small (please see the alternative method for peeled tomatoes in the pictured instructions). Set aside.
4- Heat 2 ounces of butter in a non-stick 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes salt and pepper and increase the heat to medium high and saute for 3 minutes. Stir a few times.
5- Add the chopped eggplants to the skillet, stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir a few times.
6- Stir the eggplants, make 4 shallow wells on the surface and crack the eggs one at a time in each well. Use a fork to mix the egg whites into the eggplant mixture, leaving the yolks intact. Sprinkle the yolks with extra freshly cracked black pepper. increase the heat to medium low, cover the skillet and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the whites are cooked. The yolks should be soft poached and golden.
In most recipes the eggs are mixed into Mirza Ghasemi but you can made a variation to this beloved recipe. After the eggplants and tomatoes are cooked, you can crack the eggs directly on top. Next, you can mix the whites into the sauce but leave the yolks whole and cover the skillet and quickly poach them for this unique presentation.
7- Serve with fresh herbs or salad and toasted Sangak or pita bread.
You can serve this wonderful Shomali (form the north of Iran), vegetarian meal with Sangak or Lavash, both of which are Persian flat breads.