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
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
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.