Meatless Monday: Eggplant Involtini

So good you’ll forget it’s meatless

I spent most of last year saying “I can’t believe it’s [fill in the blank] already” and now I am saying it again. It’s February 2013 already. Remember when you were little and the school year dragged on for eternity, and the summer was so blissfully long that you were actually a little bit excited to go back to school, and waiting for Santa/birthdays/summer camp/whatever was so agonizing you almost couldn’t take it? That was grand…

I made this months ago. MONTHS. And I have been wanting to tell you about it since the moment I tried it, because it is just so good. I don’t even know what it is about it that makes it so delicious, but trust…it’s delicious. Eggplant is pretty much the greatest. Whenever I eat eggplant I think, for a brief shining moment, that I could manage being a vegetarian. Just for a moment, mind you, but still, that is the power of eggplant.

This is from the Tartine Bread cookbook. I made a couple of changes, most notably that I totally forgot to add the breadcrumbs when I made it, but it was still so good that I didn’t realize I forgot to add the breadcrumbs until I went back and looked at the recipe again. I also used a different tomato sauce, because this one is so easy and delicious, I may never make another sauce again…but other than that, exactly the same! Mostly.

The Tartine Bread cookbook, by the way, is absolutely gorgeous. And obviously, not just about bread. The pictures are beautiful, I love the binding, and the recipes are great…if you are still not sure, see if they have it in your library and check it out, I bet you end up picking up your own copy.

Anyhoodle, this involtini is really, really delicious. It takes a little bit of time to salt and fry the eggplant before you are able to put it all together, so it may not be the best option if you need to complete the whole process after work and you still want to eat at a reasonable hour, but I suspect it would be no worse for the wear if you put it all together the night before. Perhaps one of these days I will give that a try and report back.

This would be a great dish anytime, really, but is very lovely for a meatless Monday (or meatless any day of the week.) Since I left out the breadcrumbs and was none the wiser, it could also be a really delicious gluten free option. I am also guessing it could be doubled, tripled or sextupled without blinking an eye.

Have I convinced you yet? Seriously. This is delicious…go forth and cook with eggplant.

The answer to your vegetarian prayers...

The answer to your vegetarian prayers…

Things I’ve thought since last time:

The internet is the most amazing rabbit hole that I fall into pretty much every day. I think back to my days in college and how productive I was back then and it is always such a mystery that I can’t seem to get anything done these days…I have come to the realization that the internet might be the problem…

What I am reading: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. It is really good. And I read Gone Girl, which was an excellent page-turner. I both loved and hated the ending.

I mentioned it last time, but if you can, please give to a cause that is near and dear.

I didn’t really have a horse in the race, but I still wish the Superbowl turned out differently. The halftime show was the best I’ve ever seen though. Does Beyonce have a fan club? I’ve started one before, and I can do it again.

My 2013 goals are not off to a very good start. And it’s already February…

For those of you in the Boston area, IGNITE the NITE is going to be an excellent time…another good cause that I am very excited to be a part of.

It’s 31 days of Oscar on Turner Classic Movies. It’s pretty much the best thing about the month of February.

Downton Abbey is JUST SO GOOD. And I bawled my eyes out last week…this will come as a surprise to approximately no one who is familiar with me and the episode I am referring to. On the flip side, The Mindy Project and The New Girl make me laugh out loud by myself on the couch multiple times an episode. And I am going to miss the heck out of Liz Lemon. Good thing I still have Leslie Knope.

I have a girls weekend on the Cape coming up in two weeks and I can’t wait. I’d love to say how much I am looking forward to relaxing with my ladies, but I suspect relaxing will be secondary to ridiculousness…

Singles Awareness Day is the 14th! Be sure to acknowledge all the Singles in your life. Much like Administrative Assistant’s Day, the people generally responsible for reminding you of of Singles Awareness Day are the Singles themselves, and that’s just awkward; so don’t forget people, remember your Singles!

Until next time…

prepped

prepped

Eggplant Involtini (serves 3-4)

adapted from Tartine Bread Cookbook

Tomato Sauce of your choice (don’t use store bought – throw a can of whole peeled tomatoes crushed in your hands, a peeled onion and a stick of butter in a pan with salt. Turn on the heat to medium, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes – thanks Marcella!)

2 or 3 medium globe eggplants

1 cup fresh bread crumbs (optional) – don’t use the seasoned italian breadcrumbs, use panko if you don’t have any stale bread to make your own.

2 cups whole milk ricotta (or make your own!)

Zest and juice from one lemon

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1/4 tsp salt, plus additional for salting the eggplant

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

chiffonade of basil for garnish (optional)

olive oil for frying

Slice the eggplants lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices (you should have about 12.) Salt the slices generously on both sides and layer them in a colander or on paper towels. Let the eggplant stand for one hour to pull out the liquid.

Blot the slices dry with a towel and fry them over medium heat in a heavy skillet in approximately an inch of olive oil for three to four minutes until lightly brown on both sides. Let cool in the colander or on paper towels.

Meanwhile, mix together the breadcrumbs, ricotta cheese, lemon zest and juice, thyme leaves and 1/4 tsp salt.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the tomato sauce in the bottom of a medium sized baking dish. Place a spoonful of filling on each eggplant slice, and roll the slice around the filling. Put each roll seam-side down on top of the sauce and drizzle the cream on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the rolls are golden and the sauce starts to darken around the edges. Sprinkle with parmesan and basil and enjoy!

roll 'em up

roll ‘em up

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