Eggplant Baked with Walnut-Garlic Sauce
1. Wash the eggplant and trim off the stems and bottoms. Cut into 1/4-inch rounds. Place in layers in a colander and sprinkle each layer with salt. Let the eggplant sit for 1 hour. Rinse and pat dry.
3 medium eggplants
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup shelled walnuts
2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 to 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/3 cup water, more if necessary
2 to 3 tablespoons julienned flat-leaf parsley or fresh mint
2. Preheat broiler. Brush a jelly-roll pan or baking sheets with olive oil. Spread the eggplant slices in the pan in one layer, and brush the tops with oil. Place the pan 8 inches from the heat and broil the eggplant until lightly browned and soft, turning once, and brushing with additional oil if necessary. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
3. While the eggplant is roasting, make the walnut-garlic sauce: Grind the walnuts in a food processor until they are about the consistency of wheat germ. Add the garlic and process another few seconds to pulverize. Add salt to taste. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, and water to the sauce, alternating between each and pulsing on and off until the sauce is thick and creamy. It will have a strange mauve color.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 10-inch round pie plate. Starting from the walls of the plate, place the eggplant neatly in a coil or in consecutively smaller circles, overlapping the slices a little. Spread the sauce over the eggplant evenly and bake for 20 minutes, or until the walnut sauce has turned golden brown. Remove, sprinkle with the chopped parsley or mint, and serve.
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