Eggplant and Persian Feta Rolls with Warm Parsley, Garlic and Balsamic Dressing


Made this for Jannah’s birthday a couple of years ago as part of a lebanese banquet type affair. These rolls are UN-FREAKING-BELIEVEABLE!  It’s a lot of work unfortunately but I promise you they are worth it.   Obviously the relish can be made well ahead of time.  The eggplant does tend to tear a little but just go with it.  The flavour is tremendous.

In the pic you’ll see some very charry eggplants. This is due to my brain not working and leaving them in the oven too long. Do not do this as they are impossible to work with! You want colour, you don’t want crunch. I did cheat a little after these overly dark ones come out of the oven by spraying liberally with olive oil spray to soften them up in the hope they’d roll. Some did, some didn’t. It’s all part of the experience I guess. My advice is a tad less char would have made life a whole lot easier. but you also don’t want them to be beige colourless unappealing so try to split the diff.

INGREDIENTS

Relish
2 brown onions – peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small knob of ginger – chopped
1 small green chilli – chopped
2 tbsp brown mustard seeds
1 cup malt vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp curry powder
6 ripe tomatoes – roughly chopped
2 large eggplant – cubed
olive oil

Dressing
½ bunch flat leaf parsley – roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic – crushed
50ml Giusti White Label (8 Year) Balsamic Vinegar
100ml Possenti Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt, pepper
1 tomato peeled – deseeded and chopped

Rolls
2 large eggplant – sliced thinly lengthwise (a mandolin is exactly what you need for this)
300g Persian Feta
salt, pepper
olive oil

METHOD

for relish
Blend the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli with the mustard seeds and half the vinegar in a food processor till smooth
Fry the mixture gently in olive oil.
Add the cumin, coriander, tumeric and curry powder and cook a few minutes.
In a separate pan saute the eggplant till coloured then add the tomato, cook a few minutes then add the onion/spice mixture.
Add the brown sugar and remaining vinegar.
Season with salt and pepper then cook approx 30 minutes till eggplant is soft and most of the liquid is absorbed.
Cool the mixture.

for rolls
Place the eggplant strips on oiled baking trays.
Add salt and pepper then bake in a hot oven till soft and well coloured.
Cool.
Lay three eggplant strips together then place a spoon of the relish in the centre then top with some of the Persian Feta.
Roll tightly then place on an oiled tray.
Repeat with the remaining mixture.

dressing
Warm the olive oil in a pan with the garlic then whisk in remaining ingredients.
Keep warm.

to serve
Place the rolls in a moderate oven and heat gently to warm through – approx 5-10 minutes.
Place a roll on warm, entree plates and spoon the warm dressing over and around the rolls.

Note: The eggplant rolls can be served at room temperature, sliced and served as a canapé or with mixed leaves as a light lunch dish.

Recipe by: Anthony Musarra
Serves 6

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