These delicious rolls are a great appetizer. Serve only one or at most two as they are very filling. I do like eggplant, especially the Asian eggplants (Chinese eggplants). These are a nice violet color, thinner and in my opinion not as bitter and better tasting. The bitterness can be combated using the salting method described below. However, this can make the dish too salty. But the salting also helps keep the slices less greasy and more flexible to help with the rolling up. Continually tasting the eggplant as you progress through this recipe is the way to go. If not as bitter, use less salt. If too salty, continue to rinse and place in plain water to reduce that salty taste. All this work is worth it, as these morsels are delicious and will delight your guests! These can be served if kept warm, but are best if served right out of the oven.
Eggplant Rolls with a Twist
- 2 Asian Eggplants
- Kosher Salt
- 2-5 TBS EVOO
- 1 Cup Fresh Mozzarella grated
- ½ Cup Finely Grated Parmesan Reggiano
- ⅓ Cup Pesto
- Basil Fresh and julienned
- Using an Benriner slicer, carefully slice the Eggplant to about ⅛-¼ inch in thickness.
- Place the slices in a large dish and sprinkle carefully with Kosher salt. Just coat the surface minimally. This step reduces the bitterness of the eggplant and will make they less greasy and easier to wrap.
- Leave the slices in the salt for 15-30 minutes.
- Rinse the slices and then place them in a contain of water and let them soak. This is to reduce the saltiness of the slices. Cut a piece of the eggplant and tastel. If still too salty, continue to rinse and soak. This is an important step as an appetizer that is too salty will not be appreciated by your guests.
- Using a grill pan brush with EVOO and fry the slices until they have good grill marks. Remove and set aside. Fry only one side.
- Combine the mozzarella and Parmesan in a bowl and mix well.
- Lay them out with the grill marks facing down on the flat counter. Lay out one or two overlapping pieces of Eggplant slice and coat with the Pesto (see the following recipe).
- Sprinkle the cheese over the slices.
- Carefully roll them up into a rollup, and pin with a toothpick.
- Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and place the rolls in the dish.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
- Plate, scatter some of the Julienned Basil over the top of each roll and serve.
There a multitude of recipes for Pesto. The classic recipe is simple and straightforward. I love to add the pine nuts. You will end up making a bit more than you need, so use the leftovers on top of a dish of pasta.
- 2 cups slightly packed fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup EVOO
- 2 Garlic Cloves sliced roughly
- 2 TBS pine nuts
- ¼ TSP Kosher salt
- Place the basil, EVOO, garlic, salt and pine nuts in a blender. Blend until smooth.