I looooove eggplant! In fact, it is my favorite vegetable of all, and I love almost anything that has eggplant in it. In Azerbaijani cooking, we use eggplants in many different ways. We can fry them, pickle them, and even preserve them in sweet syrups! Today we are going to stuff them and roll them to make a scrumptious appetizer. You will love it.
Just a few pointers before we begin. Pick long, plump eggplant with dark purple skin for the best results. Make sure you cut the slices properly—they should be neither very thick nor very thin. I used mayonnaise as a spread on the eggplant, but sour cream and even plain yogurt would work just as well. Serve the rolls warm or cold. The taste of walnuts, garlic and herbs in the eggplant is heaven! So, here we go, step by step. Have fun!
UPDATE: You can also roast the eggplant slices in your oven instead of frying them. Refer to the recipe below!
1 large eggplant
8 tablespoons (125 ml) oil (vegetable, corn, or sunflower)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) mayonnaise
4 gloves garlic, peeled and crushed
½ cup (2 oz/60 g) walnuts, finely chopped
1 ½ cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (coriander)
With a large sharp knife cut the eggplant lengthwise into slices, about 1/4-inch (1/2 centimeter) thick. You should be able to get about 8 slices.
Arrange the eggplant in a colander in layers, sprinkling each with plenty of salt. Put colander in a sink. Place a weight, such a plate or lid, on top. Leave for 30 minutes, to allow the bitter dark juices to drain. An alternative way to extract the bitterness from the eggplant would be to place the slices in a bowl with cold water mixed with 1-2 tablespoons salt, putting a weight on top and leaving for about 30 minutes, then draining and pat-drying them.
In a medium non-stick frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Rinse the eggplant, drain and pat dry. Layer the eggplant slices in batches in hot oil. Fry for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Add more frying oil if necessary (eggplant absorbs oil quickly). Remove the eggplant and drain on paper towel for about 5 minutes.
HOT UPDATE! – You can also roast the eggplant slices in the oven. Brush a piece of foil paper the size of your baking sheet with some olive oil. Place the eggplant slices on the foil and brush them with olive oil on both sides. Bake in the 450F (230C) oven for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned and soft. Turn the slices once to roast on both sides.
Lay the eggplant on a flat surface, such as cutting board. Using a spoon, spread about a teaspoon of mayonnaise evenly over each slice, then spread a little crushed garlic, and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Top the slices generously with chopped herbs.
Beginning at the narrow end, gently roll up the eggplant, and transfer to a serving patter.
Congratulations! You just did it!