Eggplant Monster-ella Rolls

July 13, 2012   |   0 Comments
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I’ve been thinking about eggplant.  It’s in season – inspiring! – but the flavor, the texture, is so… uninspiring.  Hmm.  What to make? Then, I remember the eggplant rolls Mamma Agata makes in Ravello and I have a plan.  We stopped off at her cooking school with Mingus in tow when he was just a year old.  Her recipes for Lemon Chicken, Lemon Risotto, and Lemon Cake have become stand-bys in our home.  And Mamma Agata solves the eggplant problem brillantly – with fat and flavor.

I skin three eggplants and slice them thinly, laying them out on a cookie tray.  I sprinkle both sides with salt and let them sit for twenty minutes to sweat off some of their moisture.  Beluga helps me flip them and blot the slices with a paper towel.

Mamma Agata recommends frying the eggplant in peanut oil, but I only stock olive oil, so I heat it to just shy of smoking and slip the slices in.  While those sizzle in the skillet, I cook up a couple sweet Italian sausages in another pan, and thinly slice sun-dried tomato.  I lay out these ingredients on a board, adding arugula, goat cheese and sliced mozzarella.

Everyone will assemble their own rolls, at the table.  Beluga gets nibbles.  As I load up the kids’ plates with ingredients and show Mingus how to make a roll, he asks, “Mommy, what is this?”  I explain, it’s mozzarella cheese – not the soft kind, but with less water, sliced. [silence – oh, unusual silence – as he contemplates the strangely uniform cheese on his plate]  I can see Mingus’ body shift from consternation to delight.  He makes eyes at me and says, “I call it mogjkdjfsda.”

Me: Huh?  It’s called Mozz-ar-ell-a.

Mingus: No, I call it MONSTER-ELLA!

We all laugh:)  This is why it’s wonderful to make something new.  It’s entertainment.

Eggplant Monster-ella Rolls:

3 Eggplants

8 Slices Mozzarella Cheese

A Small Log of Dense Goat Cheese

A handful of Arugula (William loves the British name for it: rocket)

4 Sun-dried tomatoes

2 Sweet Italian Sausages

1/2 Cup Parmesan

Skin and slice the eggplants, lay them on a tray, sprinkle them with salt and let them sweat for twenty minutes.  Then blot them with a paper towel.  Cook them in a medium hot skillet coated with olive oil in batches so that there is only one layer of them in the skillet at a time.  Cook each side until lightly browned.  At the same time, cook the sausages on medium in another skillet until cooked through, about fifteen minutes.  Slice up the sun-dried tomatoes, and the cheese.  Wash and dry the arugula.  Cut up the cooked sausage and lay everything on a platter.  To assemble a roll, lay out a slice of eggplant and splrinkle grated Parmesan over it.  Lay down a slice of Mozzarella cheese and two or three Arugula leaves on top of the Parmesan.   Then at one end of the strip, place three or four pieces of sun-dried tomato and a chunk of sausage.  Roll it all up.  For a creamy variation, nix the Mozzarella and add a chunk of goat cheese alongside the sausage.



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