Georgian Eggplant Rolls with Walnut Filling

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Introduction: These Georgian Eggplant Rolls with Walnut Filling are a delicious and unique appetizer that showcases the flavors of Georgian cuisine. The combination of tender eggplant and a rich, flavorful walnut filling make these rolls an irresistible treat for any gathering.

Serves: 10-12 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

  • 12 Chinese eggplants or 3 medium globe eggplants (about 1 lb. each)
  • Neutral-tasting vegetable oil (e.g. canola, sunflower, or grapeseed) for frying
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ tsp. white wine vinegar or tarragon vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp. ground fenugreek (if you have utskho suneli from Georgia, use 1/2 tsp.)
  • ¼ tsp. ground red pepper flakes or a small pinch of ground cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Fresh cilantro, thin-sliced onion, and/or pomegranate seeds to garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, grind the walnuts, garlic, vinegar, spices, and water together until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Ideally, do this several hours or up to 3 days before you plan to serve the dish, as the flavors benefit from time to meld. Store in the refrigerator if making ahead.
  2. Wash and cut the tops off the eggplants. Do not peel. Cut lengthwise into ½ in.-thick slices.
  3. Optional but recommended: Salt the eggplant slices generously and let stand for 1 hour, then press out the dark juice, rinse, and pat dry thoroughly with a kitchen towel or paper towels. This is one common technique for minimizing bitterness in eggplant. Using very fresh eggplants will also cut the risk of bitter flavor.
  4. Heat 2-3 Tbsp. of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown eggplant slices on both sides, working in batches so as not to crowd the pan and adding oil as necessary. Wait until both sides have turned golden brown, then remove eggplant slices to a plate lined with paper towels. (They should be floppy, not crisp.) Continue until all slices are fried and set aside to cool.
  5. Spread a layer of filling on one side of each eggplant slice and roll up to enclose the filling inside. Arrange the rolls on a platter and sprinkle with fresh herbs, thin-sliced onion, or pomegranate seeds (if desired) to serve. You could also serve the rolls on top of crackers or crostini to make them easier to eat neatly as finger food.

Enjoy your Georgian Eggplant Rolls with Walnut Filling!

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