How to make a priest faint….without exposing anything


It’s hard to imagine that too much olive oil in a dish of aubergines could create a fainting fit, but that’s how the story goes. The dish of which I speak is called Imam Bayildi which apparently means “the Immam fainted”: he fainted at the profligate use of precious olive oil to create this dish. Had the priest in question been an Irish catholic, just the use of feckin’ olive oil at all, at all, would have caused fainting and excommunication for everyone involved and necessitated several glasses of altar wine to restore spiritual equilibrium. I’ve never experienced too much olive oil, so I’m probably making this incorrectly but if I am, then I’d love to try the correct version.

imam bayildi_cooked3_0025



About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2014, Arto der Haroutunian, aubergine, Cookery Writers, Cooking, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, Imam Bayildi, Mediterranean food, Photography, photography course, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to How to make a priest faint….without exposing anything

  1. Decadent! There’s no such thing as too much olive oil 😀

  2. Kiki says:

    Gorgeous pictures!

  3. Mad Dog says:

    I’m with Rosemary – you can’t have too much of a good thing 🙂

  4. sabine says:

    what tempting photos these are!

  5. margaret21 says:

    I’ve always thought this might be my Death Row recipe. I could have as much olive oil as I wanted at that point, I suppose…..

  6. Sally says:

    Sumptuous pics. I’ve always liked the name of this dish.

  7. Temptation. I think I’ll pick up an aubergine or two today…

  8. This looks so good! It reminds me of some Persian dishes with eggplant. I love this kind of stuff that really highlights the vegetable.

  9. I love this recipe, the story you told, the photos you took, plus my olive oil addiction… Simply Merveilleux!

  10. Maybe too much olive oil is the key to successful eggplant. It’s so bitter when we try to do it.

  11. Amanda says:

    This is so beautiful, Connor. I’ve been meaning to make this for a long time. I think I’ll do it this week now that i have this lovely recipe. Wow.

  12. Amanda says:

    OMG sorry, I called your by the wrong name! So sorry. Your photos are stunning. And I don’t think I know your first name. Keep going with the Persian food though. You will fall in love.

  13. I love this recipe, I think it’s in one of the Claudia Roden books too. And the priest definitely wasn’t Spanish or Italian – we all love our olive oil in vast quantities (and of course equal quantities of wine to accompany)!

  14. catterel says:

    Thank you so much for this, Roger, q.uite apart from the mouthwatering photos and prose. I had a Turkish student years ago who told me about this dish, which his mother made, but his description of the recipe was so airy-fairy I was never able to get a clear idea. Now I just have to try it out and see who i can make faint!

  15. Wow, that looks good! Might have to cook it tonight.

  16. Great dish. Love the title of the post!

  17. Too much olive oil is not a sentence.
    I shall be trying this my friend

  18. I already had to laugh when opening your post, Mr. Roger, besides making me hungry all the time you also make me laugh a lot. Thank you letting the priest faint, I have made that food hundrets of times ( a bit exageratet), but never thought of eating it cold.

  19. Eha says:

    Have made the ‘fainting priest’ forever from the same source! Must go back to the original recipe, ’cause have forgotten the allspice for a long time!! With two eggplants in the fridge with nowhere to go . . . it’s about time to meet old acquaintances 🙂 !!

  20. EllaDee says:

    It’s amazing the crazy things I read online. First it was the Guardian’s “23 recipes for leftover wine”… And now this “too much olive oil…” All things in moderation, including moderation.

  21. Interesting back story. I don’t eat eggplant that often. Maybe I’m old enough now to enjoy them?

    • A lot of people have an aversion to egg plant/aubergine which I think stems from not having eaten a well prepared recipe. Once you get into Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food you find out just how amazing and versatile it really is.

  22. it’s the aubergines there is too much of. Says she who dislikes them so much!!

  23. saucygander says:

    I’ve always liked the name…though isn’t the eggplant exposed in this dish?

  24. Karen says:

    It seems that you think just like my husband when it comes to the theory that there can never be too much olive oil. When he cooks, I notice the quantity of oil greatly diminishing from the olive oil bottle. I can just imagine how good this would taste spread on top of a French baguette.

  25. Decadent is right – I say, make it float in the gold of olive oil!

  26. payalskitchen says:


  27. olganm says:

    Love aubergines. Looks delicious!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.