Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday Snack - Eggplant Involtini

Eggplant is another one of those foods I can't get enough of, yet somehow I always managed to forget how long they can take to prepare.

The second I saw this pin while searching for things I should be able to eat while "stuck" with gestational diabetes I knew it was for me. The link from the pin doesn't go directly where it should go but here is the page you should end up on.
 Looks completely mouthwatering doesn't it?

I had my head in the game just this side of early enough to make myself a late lunch out of this. You better bet I did all I could to motivate my pregnant booty to waddle into the kitchen and start prepping for it.

1 eggplant
kosher salt
olive oil for frying
tomato sauce 

heavy cream
freshly grated Asiago cheese or Parmigiano Reggiano
(I used the stuff in a shaker because it was all we had at the time)

bread crumbs, about 1/2 cup, made from about 3 slices day-old bread I used panko
1 cup whole milk ricotta
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, minced
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1. Trim the stem end of each eggplant. 
Put those end pieces in your composter, compost bag, or wherever it is you keep your food waste.
Using a mandoline, cut the eggplant lenthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. You should have about 12 slices. I didn't use a mandoline, I used a large serrated knife.
Sprinkle the eggplant on both sides with kosher salt, layer them in a colander, and let stand for 1 hour. (I was impatient and only let them drain for about a half hour… worked out just fine.)
Press the moisture from the eggplant and blot them dry with paper towels. As you know, I try to avoid using virgin paper sources so I went ahead and used my UnPaper towels for this.
Pour olive (or canola) oil to a depth of 1 inch in a deep, heavy saucepan or large skillet and heat to 360ºF on a deep-frying thermometer. (I did not use a thermometer — just watched the oil and tested when I thought it was ready.) I didn't use a thermometer on the oil either.

Place 3 to 4 eggplant slices in the hot oil and cook until the slices take on some color, 3 to 4 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer the slices to a colander (or paper-towel lined plate) to drain. Repeat with remaining slices.
2. Meanwhile, make the stuffing. In a bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, ricotta, lemon zest, juice, thyme and salt.

3. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Spoon tomato sauce into a medium-sized baking dish till bottom of dish is covered in a thin layer.
Place a spoonful of filling at one end of each of the eggplant slices.
Roll the slice around the filling and place it seam-side down in the dish on top of the tomato sauce.
Spoon a tablespoon of cream (or less) over each roll to moisten. I just poured a bit of cream over all of the ends and as you can see it made a little mess.
Bake until the edges of sauce around the sides of the dish are dark and the rolls are nicely caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes.
Garnish with the Asiago (or parm) before serving.
So how was it? I thought it could use a little less lemon juice. It wasn't bad though. TEENSY bit bland in the stuffing department.

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