Food & Wine Pairing Recipe of the Week – Pan Fried Eggplant with Central Otago Saffron Mayonnaise

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Many people don’t know it but there is a little family-owned business based in Bannockburn that is responsible for producing some of the world’s finest saffron. Heart of the Desert Saffron distributes saffron throughout New Zealand, and to US, Australian, Asian and London outlets. We thought we would use this subtle and delicious Central Otago spice in this homemade mayonnaise recipe, served with a scrumptious eggplant dish and our 2009 Riesling. Be sure to buy saffron that is very fresh when the flavour is at its’ peak. We avoid imported saffron!   Enjoy!

Pan Fried Eggplant with Central Otago Saffron Mayonnaise

Central Otago Saffron




  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  •  2 teaspoons garlic powder
  •  1 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  4 small eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices
  •  2 eggs, beaten
  •  1/2 cup olive oil, or as needed
  •  8 sprigs parsley, for garnish


To make your Mayonnaise:

  1. Grab your egg yolk. Toss it in a large bowl. Add the salt, powdered mustard, and lemon juice.
  2. Whisk that up until it’s uniform.
  3. Slowly (and I mean slowly), drizzle a little oil into the egg yolk mixture, whisking as you go.
  4. Whisk until the oil is completely incorporated and the mixture is uniform. It will start to fluff up. That’s a good thing.
  5. When you’ve completely incorporated that first bit of oil, drizzle in a little more. Whisk until completely incorporated. Keep repeating (drizzle/whisk) until you’ve incorporated all the oil. This may take up to 10 minutes!
  6. Transfer your completed mayo into a dish.
  7. Stir saffron into hot water, and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir together saffron water, mayonnaise, and minced garlic until smooth; set aside.

To make your Eggplant:

  1. Whisk together flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and kosher salt in a shallow bowl. Dip the eggplant slices into beaten egg, then dust with flour. Gently shake off excess flour, and place eggplant slices onto a baking sheet.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Fry the eggplant slices until golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil before frying each batch of eggplant.
  5. Once all of the eggplant has been fried, roll up into cylinders and secure with toothpicks. Garnish with parsley and serve with saffron mayonnaise.


Wine Pairing – Bald Hills Last Light Riesling 2010

Richly flavoured off dry wine with floral notes with touches of mandarin blossom. Sounds good! This wine is delicate and the gentle acidity left in the mouth cleanses the pallate for the next mouthful of Saffron infused mayo.


Tyson Stelzer – 95 Points

Raymond Chan – 18/20