Eggplant and Walnut Frittata (Badimjan Kükü)
This hearty Azeri egg dish—which can be served in small pieces as an appetizer or side, or cut into larger wedges as a main—is loaded with ground walnuts, onions, and eggplant, giving it a nutty, meaty consistency and color. Dried barberries, with their slightly sour tang, and fresh, cool pomegranate seeds add delicious, colorful contrast.
The World’s Last Great Undiscovered Cuisine , Anya von Bremzen
- 1 3⁄4 cups walnuts, plus 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts for garnish
- 1 large eggplant (about 1 lb.), peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 medium red onions (1 lb.), coarsely chopped
- 1 heaping tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 6 large eggs, beaten
- 1⁄2 cup dried red Persian barberries, pomegranate seeds, or a mix, plus more for garnish
- 2 1⁄2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- Set a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 375°. In a large food processor, add 1 3⁄4 cups walnuts and pulse until small crumbs form. Remove and set aside. To the bowl of the food processor, add the eggplant and onion. Process until finely minced but not yet porridgelike.
- Transfer the eggplant mixture to a fine strainer and place in the sink or over a large bowl. Top with a small plate, pressing down firmly to extract as much liquid as possible from the mixture; let rest 10 minutes, then press down firmly again.
- Move the mixture to a large bowl and season with pepper and salt. Stir in the eggs, ground walnuts, and barberries.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Once it’s bubbling, add the egg mixture, stirring briefly to coat some of it in butter. Spread the egg mixture into an even layer using a spatula and allow it to cook until the center is steaming and the edges are lightly bubbling, 2–3 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake until the top is golden and the eggs are set all the way through, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool 2–3 minutes. Slide the kükü onto a large platter, using a rubber spatula as needed to help gently dislodge it from the pan. Let cool slightly. Garnish with the chopped walnuts and more barberries or pomegranate seeds. Serve warm or at room temperature, sliced into wedges.