The Great Iskander!

Favored by Alexander the Great, named for its inventor Iskender Efendi, five simple ingredients make this dish go POP.

The flavor prunes the back of your tongue and sends it down your throat. Such creamy tang! The Chicken Iskender, my favorite dish, it must be shared with family.

But, they are vegetarian…. What to do?

Make it this way.

A bed of pita, cut into bite-size pieces and toasted on a cookie sheet until firm. Next, add sauce, the key to the whole meal.

I make tomato sauce in one of three ways: red and fresh, onions and garlic sautéed translucent then slightly browned with tomato paste before adding tomatoes and letting them simmer with fresh basil; a dark, hearty sauce starting from peppers and onions and various spices, adding fresh tomatoes by the layer and burning each layer thick and dark before adding black beans and letting it simmer all day; a middle version of the two.

Yesterday I took the middle road, minus the beans, making the most of the early burn, a little sugar to help it along, scraping the pot as it stuck, filling the house with the aroma of its simmer all day long.

Next: succulent eggplant in place of chicken. Yesterday’s eggplant, cubed, didn’t crisp the way I wanted it to. Next time I’ll get those brown edges on inch-thick slices.

Add a can of chick peas. Add a layer of Greek yogurt.

Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

Try adding garlic to the yogurt, and drizzle some garlic butter over all of it. Try it with a bed of French fries if you want to fatten up.

If coronavirus has you eating in for weeks on end, might as well make it a gastronomical adventure!






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