Did you know that aubergine is actually a fruit? A berry to be exact. In fact, a berry related to both tomato and potato. It was a discovery for me, which straight away made me think of a delicious&unforgettable Georgian Nigvziani Badrijani (ბადრიჯანი, aubergine rolls with spiced walnut filling). [I would be making those too in the nearest future].
I visited this magical mountain country last march and brought back with me deepen love for extraordinary Georgian cuisine. There are plenty of original and exquisite dishes. Some of my favourites include most recognizable Khachapuri and Khinkali, Lobio and Sulguni cheese, and of course aromatic Georgian wine.
This is my variation of Georgian style aubergine starter. Slices of aubergine are served with fresh onion rings and garlicky dressing, garnished with pungent flavoured cilantro. A great appetizer to begin your culinary journey through Georgia!
Preparation + cooking time: 40 min / Serves 2 as a main dish and 4 as a side or starter
TIP: In order to reduce bitterness of aubergine, usually it is sliced and salted before cooking.
We would need:
- 1 large aubergine & some sea salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tbsp of sea salt
- 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup of sunflower oil
- 1 onion, sliced into rings
- 1 tbsp of freshly chopped cilantro
- Wash and cut the tops off the aubergine, slice into rounds. Using a regular dinner plate, create layers of aubergine, slightly season with salt on both sides. Cover with another plate or baking sheet and rest a heavy object on top. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes.
- Using pestle and mortar mix the garlic and salt. Put vinegar to a boil and add to the mix.
- Run cold water over the aubergine slices, making sure to rinse off all of the salt. Put on paper towel to remove the excess liquid.
- Heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet over medium heat and golden aubergine slices on both sides. Work in a batches of 4-5 and add oil if they start to stick. Remove fried slices to a plate lined with paper towels and allow to cool.
- Arrange aubergine on a serving plate, drizzle with garlic dressing and top with the fresh onion rings along with chopped cilantro. Bon app!