I bought a large, gorgeous, purple eggplant at the farmers market and I wasn't sure what to do with it. I'll be the first to finish baba ganoush or eggplant parmesan but I haven't cooked with this fruit that we call a vegetable. In search of the perfect recipe, I landed upon this recipe on epicurious.com. I changed the recipe to make a more flavorful filling and of course a spicier tomato sauce. I thoroughly enjoyed making this appetizer as it looks elegant and tastes great! This was also a great excuse to rock my Emeril Lagasse double stove top ridged grill pan! Rolling the eggplant was fun because it looked quite cute and put together at the end. I realize that there is a lot of possibility for variation. I was having two friends over for dinner and I was trying to stick to an Italian theme. One eggplant made about 8 rolls! Be cautious to not cut the eggplant too thin as the strips will tear when you try to roll them. Some ideas of items to add to future eggplant rolls include Italian sausage, mozzarella, or thin slices of shawarma!! YUM YUM YUM :)
Eggplant Rolls with Spicy Tomato Sauce
(Makes 8 rolls)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried hot red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil (for sauce), plus about 6 more tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 lbs plum tomatoes (about 5), chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 large eggplant
1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated
1/3 cup basil finely chopped
1. Cook 3 minced garlic cloves, dried pepper flakes in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat, stirring until the garlic is fragrant and turning gold, about 30 seconds.
2. Add the tomatoes and sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 20-25 minutes.
1. Heat grill pan over high heat until hot.
2. Peel the skin from the eggplant and cut 1/3 inch thick slices of the eggplant, lengthwise. Place the eggplant strips on a pan or plate and brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper.
3. Grill the slices in batches, turning over once, until golden brown and tender with grill marks, about 5 minutes. Transfer these to a tray or pan.
4. Mix together the parmesan, ricotta, basil, pepper and remaining garlic. Spread the cheese mixture on the slices, leaving a 1/3 inch tip at each end of the eggplant.
5. Roll up the slices of eggplant and serve with spicy tomato sauce. YUM!!