Citizens, it is simply not possible to celebrate a week of garlic recipes without at least one recipe from the mighty country of Georgia!
Georgian cuisine uses an incredible variety of different types of garlic – you didn’t really think there was just the standard California White that you see in the supermarket, did you? 🙂
This listing, for example, showcases more than 100 different types of garlic, including dozens from Georgia, each with their own unique flavor profile! It is estimated there may be nearly *1000* different cultivar types of garlic worldwide!
Georgian cuisine is redolent of garlic, herbs, spices and superfoods such as pomegranate and walnut. This recipe combines them all in a single mouth-watering dish that will set you on an inevitable course of personal exploration for Georgian cuisine recipes!
My version of this classic rolled-up eggplant appetizer (badrijani nigvzit in Georgian) is more garlicky than most, and uses several unique Georgian spices (I list sources – well worth seeking out!).
Battle on – The Generalissimo
1 cup walnuts
4 cloves garlic (TFD change – original recipe calls for ½ this amount)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
½ teaspoon ground fenugreek, or more as needed – TFD strongly prefers the true Georgian Blue Fenugreek, which is very hard to find in the U.S. One excellent source is here.
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed, plus more for salting the eggplant
½ tsp. ground red pepper flakes (TFD prefers Aleppo peppers here)
1 teaspoon turmeric or Georgian Marigold petal powder, which TFD strongly prefers. You can get it here.
¼ cup each packed cilantro and parsley leaves
½ cup water
10 Chinese eggplants – these are the long slender types
Grapeseed oil, for frying
Crackers, for serving
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced, for garnish
Pomegranate seeds for garnish
Combine the walnuts, garlic, vinegar, spices, pomegranate molasses and water in a food processor; puree until fairly smooth. Taste, and adjust the seasonings as desired. Chill for several hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld.
Trim off and discard the tops of the eggplants (but do not peel them). Cut lengthwise into ½-inch-thick slices.
Line a baking sheet with several layers of paper towels.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add just enough of the eggplant so as not to overcrowd the pan.
Brown on both sides, adding oil as necessary to prevent the eggplant from sticking or burning. Transfer to the lined baking sheet to drain and cool. Repeat, working in batches, until all the slices have been fried.
The eggplant can be fried 1 day before serving. Store the filling and eggplant, separate and covered, in the refrigerator. It’s best to assemble the rolls no more than a couple of hours before serving.
Place the eggplant slices with the pointier end toward you. Place a dollop of paste on the pointy end of each slice and roll away from yourself. Arrange rolls on a serving dish. Place 2-3 pomegranate seeds on the end of each roll and scatter more around the plate.
Serve as is, or on crackers, if you like. Scatter fresh cilantro, thinly sliced red onion and/or more pomegranate seeds over the rolls before serving, if desired.