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Author Notes: I have to say that when I am invited to a party at someone’s home or at a restaurant, the most things I am looking forward to on the table are the appetizers. These eggplant rolls are in the category of my favorites. They are finger-friendly bundles of tender eggplants wrapped around a very piquant, pungent, nutty and herbal filling.
My recipe is a combination of a few different recipes. Most recipes call only for dried spices and herbs, I love fresh herbs, so I used a variety of them and although it is more traditional frying the eggplant slices, I roasted them in a hot oven and did not have to use a lot of oil.
In Georgia this dish is traditionally served cold and it taste better when made ahead. It is also traditional to garnish this dish with pomegranate arils, but I did not have them and used more of the herbs for garnish. —Kukla
Makes: about 16-18 rolls
• 1 1/3 cups toasted walnut halves or pieces
• 1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
• 1/3 cup packed basil leaves
• 1/3 cup packed parsley leaves
• 1 teaspoon of each, fenugreek and coriander, crushed
• 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika or ground cayenne pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric or saffron threads
• 1 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar
• 2 large garlic cloves, minced
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 4 whole medium eggplants, unpeeled, sliced lengthwise, about 1/4 inch thick, to get about 16 to 18 slices
• Pure olive oil for roasting eggplant slices
- Wash and cut of the tops and bottoms off the eggplants. Cut lengthwise into 1/4 inches thick slices. Sprinkle the slices generously with salt and let stand in a large colander over a bowl at least 30 minutes; then rinse well under running cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
- Brush eggplant slices with oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast in 400-degree preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, flipping eggplant halfway through cooking.
- Place first 10 ingredients and 1/4 cup water in a food processor; purée until smooth, about 2 minutes. Taste for seasoning, add whatever you think the mixture needs (I added some lemon juice) and set aside.
- When eggplant has cooled about 10 minutes, begin the rolling process. On each slice, put about 2 tablespoons of walnut mixture. Spread it on the eggplant and then roll.
- To serve: Arrange the rolls on a platter and sprinkle them with fresh cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or pomegranate seeds. Enjoy.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Walnuts