In Georgia, walnut-stuffed eggplant rolls are almost as popular as khachapuri. In Abkhazia, too, apparently, as I adapted this recipe from an Abkhaz cookbook! These rolls make for a very satisfying appetizer, and the filling strikes the perfect balance between spices, fresh herbs, moist onions and rich walnuts. My partner doesn’t even like eggplant, and she liked these!
Walnut-stuffed eggplant rolls
Yields about 24 pieces
1 1/2 lb Italian eggplant
4 oz olive oil
6 oz very thinly sliced onion
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
4 saffron filaments
8 oz shelled walnuts
2 tbsp chopped mint
4 tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 tsp piment d’espelette
4 oz pomegranate juice
- Remove the stems from the whole eggplants, and slice the flesh lengthwise into slices about 3/16″ thick, discarding the skin-side slices. Generously season the slices with salt on both sides. Let rest for 15 minutes, then brush both sides with a wet paper towel.
- Sauté the eggplant slices in olive oil in a hot frying pan until brown on both sides. Reserve on paper towels.
- Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until golden brown. Season with salt, mix in the saffron and let cool.
- In a food processor, process the walnuts, mint, parsley, piment d’espelette and pomegranate juice to a coarse paste. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the onion preparation. Place some mixture on one end of each eggplant slice, and roll into a cylinder. Refrigerate and take out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving.