I am starting to wonder how 2014 is flying by so quickly. May is one of those months that will be over before you know it. This weekend was Mother’s Day so of course I spent the weekend with my mom and traveled to Houston. The next few weekends will be busy with more trips, weddings and music festivals. Before I know it, it will be my birthday 🙂
In an effort to bring some stability to my crazy weeks, I like to spend a day where I cook all of my meals so I don’t have to worry about it the rest of the week. If I’m making one meal, I might as well make three or four meals.
I had used eggplant in a variety of ways, including in my eggplant Parmesan, but when I saw this recipe I know I wanted to try it out. It did take a little while to assemble, and it would have been made quite a bit harder without a mandolin, but it was well worth the process, I promise!
- 1 eggplant
- kosher salt
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil for frying (I used canola oil)
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 2 cups shredded or freshly grated Asiago cheese or Parmigiano Reggiano (I used parm)
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Trim the stem end of each eggplant. Using a mandolin, cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. You should have about 12 slices. Sprinkle the eggplant on both sides with kosher salt, layer them on paper towels and let stand for 30 minutes to an hour. Press the moisture from the eggplant and blot them dry with paper towels after they have rested.
Pour olive (or canola) oil to a depth of 1 inch in a deep, heavy saucepan or large skillet. 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 paper-towel lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining slices.
Meanwhile, make the stuffing. In a bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, ricotta, lemon zest, juice, thyme and salt.
In another bowl, mix the heavy cream and tomato sauce together.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Spoon a few tablespoons of the tomato sauce mixture to coat the bottom of a medium-sized baking dish (or individual gratin dishes) until 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. (I used a toothpick to hold the stubborn ones). When finished, spoon the rest of the tomato sauce mixture on top of the eggplant rolls to moisten them. 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.