Thursday, July 24, 2008

Eggplant Rollatini & Five Things I Love Tag






With the abundance of fresh summer vegetables coming into season I was inspired to make Eggplant Rollatini this week.

There are many ways to make this dish and many recipes on the Internet, but this is my method that has evolved over the years.





Recipe:

3 cups prepared tomato sauce.

One large or two to three medium eggplants
salt for sprinkling
4-6 eggs, beat two at a time
1 - 2 cups flour, or as needed
1-2 cups bread crumbs, or as needed
oil for frying

Filling:
2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
2 eggs
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
one half cup of grated Parmesan cheese, & more for garnish
one half cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste


First, I select a large, glossy black, firm yet not too heavy eggplant. It has been my experience that the lighter in weight eggplant are usually less seeded, and the seeds add to the bitterness that eggplants sometimes have. I'm not sure if there is any validity to my method of selecting the eggplant, but it has been successful for me! I found a very large eggplant this time, so I only needed one, but if you find medium sized ones you might need up to three.

Before you begin this recipe you should also have about three cups of your favorite marinara (tomato) sauce prepared. I don't use commercially prepared sauce -- ever -- but if you like that, use that! If you make your own sauce now is a good time to prepare that and have it simmering while you are preparing the rest of the recipe.

Next, wash and dry the eggplant and cut off both ends to make them flat and to remove the stem. I do not remove the eggplant's skin, but you may if you prefer it that way.

I place my eggplant on a cutting board standing up on one end and with a very sharp knife begin to slice from one end to the other, slicing through it as thin a slice as possible until it is all cut.

It would be wonderful if you have a large mandolin or a food slicer that can do this step!

Next, I lightly salt the slices on both sides and lay them in large colander that is set on a shallow bowl. I cover the salted eggplant slices with a flat dish and weigh it all down with something heavy -- a large can of tomatoes will do the trick, and allow it to stand for about a half hour to an hour. This allows the bitter juices to drain out of the eggplant.


After the eggplant slices are all drained of their liquid, I lightly rinse off the salt and carefully squeeze dry each slice.

Now I prepare a dish of flour, a dish of beaten eggs with a touch of milk added, and a dish of bread crumbs.


Add enough oil (I use canola oil to fry) to cover well the bottom of a large frying pan and begin to heat on medium flame until a drop of water will sizzle.

Dip the eggplant, one slice at a time, first in flour to coat, then the beaten eggs, then the bread crumbs, making sure both sides are covered with each coating and put them aside on a platter until the oil in the frying pan is hot.

Once the oil is hot, add the coated slices to frying pan, but do not crowd, and fry until golden brown on each side. Drain on a platter that is covered with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.


When all the slices of eggplant are fried, prepare the filling. I used two cups of fresh ricotta cheese, to which I added two well beaten eggs, salt and pepper to taste, 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese, one half cup grated Parmesan cheese, and about a half cup fresh parsley, chopped well. Mix well until all is blended.

Preheat oven to 375 F Prepare a 13 X 9 inch roasting pan by covering the bottom with about two cups of your prepared tomato sauce, just enough to cover the pan bottom without any gaps, not too thick in depth.

On one slice of eggplant at a time, spread out about one tablespoon of the ricotta blend. Since I presently have a large basil crop I placed a fresh basil leaf in the middle of each slice, but this is optional. Then roll each slice in jelly roll fashion and place seam down into the sauce in the roasting pan.

Repeat filling and rolling and placing in the roasting pan until all slices are done and then, using a small ladle, cover each roll with the remaining cup of tomato sauce. Sometimes I add a slice of mozzarella cheese over each rollatini, but this time I only added freshly grated Parmesan cheese and some chopped fresh basil.

Cover the roasting pan with aluminium foil and place in hot oven and bake 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly --this may take longer if you have refrigerated the rollatini after making them --remove foil, turn off oven and allow the rollatini to cook a little longer in the residual heat to evaporate excess moisture. Remove from oven and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and serve with extra grated Parmesan cheese on the side, if desired. They are delicious!


Melanie of JellyBeanAngel tagged me to list the "Five Things I Love," and then tag five more people to do the same.

Gee -- this is hard, as I love so many things, large and small!

After the big things I love such as my faith, my family and my friends and pets, there are a lot of little things I love, so here are just a few I can think of today:

1) Eating the first juicy red tomato from my garden, still warm from the vine. This is always a special treat that I look forward to every year!

2) I love to garden and tend to houseplants. As I mentioned in another post I have city home that does not have much property, or even soil in my backyard, but I have a lot of success growing tomatoes and herbs in large pots. Look at my tomato plants so far this summer!

3) Little china pieces. I collect Belleek and Aynsley china, and I also love Delft china.

4) I love to feeding the wild birds all year round, and listen to them chirping so pleasantly all summer.

5) I think you all know I love to cook, and eat, but I especially love to bake! I make cookies by the dozens at Christmas, and I love to try new recipes for pies, cakes and tarts . I just wish I wasn't dieting all the time because I've cut back on baking tremendously lately.

I know this tag has been circulating on a lot of blogs lately, so does anyone want to do this without me tagging them? Please let me know if you do! Thanks!

31 comments:

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Pat the eggplant rollatini looks wonderful...so gourmet!

I enjoyed reading your post too...your tomato plants look great. Guess that's what you use for your sauces?
diane

Beverly said...

I love getting to know more about you. And, there you go again making me hungry. ;-)

CatHerder said...

YUMMMM! Eggplant rollatini is one of my very favorite meals!!!! Now Im in the mood for it!

Cori G. said...

Hi Pat,
Your eggplant rola looks so delicious. I've never cooked eggplant but this looks so good. I might have to try it. Is it time consuming to make? I really need to start cooking again and I'm sure my sweet hubby would like some home cooked meals.
Have a wonderful week and thanks for the comment on my anniversary post. We had fun.
:) Cori

Joanne Kennedy said...

YUMMMMMMMMMY! I can't wait to try this. I don't eat meat so I'm always looking for good recipes like this.

That eggplant looks good just fried up. But putting it all together sounds wonderful!

Your tomatoes are super! That photo was great with all the basil in back of it. I love fresh tomatoes with basil and a little balsamic vinegar on it. OR with mozzarella cheese. Heck, I just love tomatoes any way.

Hugs,
Joanne

steviewren said...

Mmmmmm, and I don't even like eggplant very much! I never heard the tip about weighting the cut up eggplant down draining away the bitter juices. That is a great tip.

The pictures of your pot-grown tomatoes are inspiring me to give that a try next year. I have plenty of dirt...clay soil with tons of rocks, so hard I can't even dig in it usually. My best and only flower bed is one ex husband made with dirt we bought.

Check my blog later. I am going to post a thanks for the award you gave me and my 6 quirky factoids.

Enjoy that yummy dinner!

Picket said...

Ohhhh I can almost smell that eggplant dish!!! Man that looks fantastic!!!! Girl you grow some huge tomatoe plants in those pots!!
What kid of soil do you use for them and are they in full sun all day? I love little cherry tomatoes right off the vine...hope you have had a great day!

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Congrats on winning the apron! Your eggplant dish looks amazing. I'll bet it tastes delicious. I love eggplant parmesan so I'm wondering if this is similar. I need to get on a diet. After all those steroids with my poison ivy in June I think I've gained a ton:)

Betsy said...

That looks scrumptious! Suddenly I'm starving and it's time to go to bed!

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Hi Pat,

Your recipe looks scrumptious! I think I'm going to try it also. Thanks for sharing it--I can smell it now. . .

You really have a green thumb--very impressive.

Rhonda

Proud Italian Cook said...

Mmmm, Pat that rolatini looks like it would melt in your mouth!I love it that way. What a green thumb you have with all your pots, your tomatoes and basil look perfect, such big basil leaves. Your post was filled with my favorite things, tomatoes, basil, and eggplants!

Strider said...

Wow, the pictures are great and the food looks the as good! YOU really worked hard on this post. I can see that it is a passion with you. Very Cool.

LOUISE said...

I love all the ingregients you have used for the Eggplant Rollatini, we call them aubergines and would you believe I haven't ever tasted one as a main vegetable, only as part of a ratatouille. I can see lots of tomato sauce being made from your bumper tomato crop, and I see lots of watering again there! I love to bake, but too have to make restrictions due to my ever expanding double waistline! Wonderful collection of china, Belleek and Aynsley being very delicate, does this say something about you Pat? x

Melanie said...

Hia Pat thanks for doing the 5 things you love.

I do the same preparation with eggplant/aubergine when I make moussaka. I'll have to have a go at rollatini- we're big cheese lovers in this house. Thank you.

Dee Dee said...

Pat the eggplant rollatini looks delicious...this looks like something we would enjoy. My my you are such a fine cook lady :)

Junie Moon said...

That recipe sounds so yummy; thank you for sharing it with us. I love your list of five things, each and every one is delightful.

Tracy said...

Delicious, Pat...This reminds me so much of an eggplant lasagna I used to make--no noodles, eggplant slices instead. I don't eat meat, so your recipe gets and extra thumbs up! ;o) Such fun reading your list...Have a great weekend ahead ((HUGS))

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

That looks delish!
I am with you on the tomato and basil. The best!

Jillian said...

Wow, great recipe and I LOVE your Beleek collection. Fabulous!

And because you are always full of great information...I have something for you over on my blog today...

Jillian

Dana said...

I'm drooling all over the place, Pat. That dish looks so yummy! I should try more container gardening---that looks like something I would enjoy. Loved your collection of little china pieces--the ones with the shamrocks caught my eye. My husband's grandparents on his mom's side were Kiely's--very Irish. I have a little piece of the shamrock china you have--it came from his parents house. It was glued back together and I don't know the history on it (who it belonged to)--sure wish I did. Another great post!

Pat said...

Thanks everyone!
Diane -- I don't grow enough tomatoes to use all year long( I wish!) but I do love fresh tomato sauce. When I don't have fresh tomatoes I use canned plum tomatoes. Nothing pre made in a jar!

Eggplant rollatini does taste a little like eggplant parmigiana but the ricotta adds a slightly different flavor to it, and I think it's easier to make.

It's a fabulous vegetarian dish!

I use "Miracle Grow" potting soil in my containers -- fresh soil every year -- and I do have to say that containers need watering every day if it doesn't rain, but it's worth the effort to have fresh tomatoes!

Jillian -- thanks! I'll coming over to look! :-)

Dana -- the shamrock china is either Belleek or Royal Tara --both made in Ireland.


Oh -- and sorry I ahd to put the "word verification" back! I had my first SPAM that I had to delete -- ugh!

Kathy said...

Hi Pat, your eggplant rollatini really does look delicious, I am going to try to make it over the weekend. I love your little grape plate, your basil and tomatoe plants look so healthy and huge. Your china display is so pretty, I am with you about the bird song. Have a wonderful day, hugs, Kathy.

Poetikat said...

Pat, my mouth is watering! I love eggplant. My husband? Not so much. So, all the more for me!

By the way, I really need to get one of those shelves for my stoneware collection. I have a Belleek piece and some Aynsley as well. My mother has a collection of delicate China cups that I will inherit one day, but I actually like the clunky stuff that I know I'm less likely to break.

Kat

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

My stomach is growling after seeing this post! It looks delicious!
Penny

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

The Eggplant Rollatini looks divine! It really must because I am so hungry and I've never even tasted eggplant. Perhaps it is about time!

The Summer Kitchen Interiors said...

That eggplant looks lovely! A friend of ours grew a LOT of eggplant this year - guess what? We've got most of it - seems no one he knows eats eggplant!! This recipe is "on" for the weekend! Thanks for sharing it!!
Karla & Karrie

Paz said...

Thanks for making me hungry! LOL! Your eggplant looks delicious! You have a garden? Lucky you! I think that's really cool to have. I would like to have one of those window box gardens for herbs and stuff...

Paz

Donna said...

Oh, I must try that eggplant recipe, I just brought some in from the garden. Looks yummy!

Your tomato plants look great!

Hugs,
Donna

My Notting Hill said...

Thanks for the advice on picking an eggplant. This recipe looks so good! Michele

lisa said...

i was not told you were making eggplant rollatini! share with your daughter next time!!

<3

An Enchanted Cottage said...

Oh my gosh, Pat - this recipe looks SOOO good! If my finished eggplant looks half as good as yours, I'll be thrilled (as will my family!)...Donna