Saturday, November 07, 2009

How do you feel about eggplant?

That was the text that I sent to Rick on Friday afternoon.  I'd had eggplants on my mind alll day after I passed quite a few attractive ones that were on display in the Horseshoe at MUSC today.  Every Friday, MUSC hosts a small farmer's market in the Horseshoe in front of that disappointing tent that is serving as a cafeteria while the old one gets renovated.  I find it amusing that there are all these delicious looking fruits and vegetables just a few yards from the tent, but hey, I'll readily admit that I have an odd sense of humor.

Rick didn't reply back via text but called to let me know that he'd never had eggplant before.  Honestly, I've never cooked eggplant before either, but I opted not to tell him that until afterwards.  I went on an internet search for eggplant recipes.  I wasn't sure what I wanted, but I did know that eggplant parm would be out since we did chicken parmesan recently.  Anyway, I have to be honest.  The way that I search for recipes online has evolved since I've started writing this blog.  No longer do I start with my old stand-by website or, but instead, I now start out with a google search of blogs.  One of the website recipes that I came across that really caught my eye was this one, but when Rick told me that the chicken that he had out was now probably bad (and that he wanted to do some grilling, too), I decided to save it for another day and keep searching.  I saw a ton of recipes for Eggplant Rolls which really got me thinking about how I could play with this concept to make something that was my own.

After picking up an eggplant, two green peppers, and two cucumbers (I feel some more tzatziki coming on...I've created a monster within myself!!) at the farmer's market, I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home.  I was looking for some sort of soft cheese to use as part of my filling.  In my mind, I was already picturing doing something similar to the pinwheel appetizers that I posted last week and using some prosciutto that I have in the refrigerator and some basil (which made me lament giving up on our basil over the last month or so) and maybe throw in some diced tomatoes and garlic...  I wanted a cheese that wasn't ricotta but not really cream cheese either, and the helpful guys at Whole Foods suggested Capricho de Cabra.  I had never heard of it before, but the friendly one helping me called it "a step above cream cheese."  A quick google search informed me that it is a goat cheese from Spain.  Sounds good to me!  

The look on Rick's face when I was slicing up the eggplant betrayed his skepticism about the meal despite his what he was saying. Too bad I didn't have my camera handy for that one.  In the end, though, the eggplant won him over!  Here's the recipe

Eggplant Roll-Ups

1 eggplant
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 4 oz package of prosciutto
3 cheese blend
1/3 lb of Capricho de Cabra, softened (you can use ricotta or cream cheese if you wish)

Provolone cheese, grated

Marinara sauce of your choice
Extra virgin olive oil
Italian seasoning grinder

 Preheat oven to 350F.  

Slice off the ends of the eggplant, and then thinly slice off one side of the eggplant so that it can sit stably on the cutting board.  Repeat on the opposite side of the eggplant. Cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Put the olive oil on a plate and add some of the Italian seasoning to it.  Brush each side of the each slice of the eggplant with the olive oil and set aside.

Heat a grill to medium-high, and grill the eggplant (about 3-5 minutes per side depending on how thick the slices are) until they are tender.

Mix softened Capricho de Cabra, 3 cheese blend and basil in a bowl.

Place grilled eggplant on a cutting board.  Taking one piece at a time, put a slice of prosciutto on the eggplant and then spread the cheese mixture on it to cover it.  Starting with the larger end of the eggplant, roll the eggplant into a roll up and place in a baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining slices of egg plant.  Spoon marinara sauce over the eggplant roll ups and then top with grated provolone cheese.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

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