Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Among other items you can throw on the grill this summer, really, nothing is tastier than a thinly sliced grilled eggplant. And though many of us New Yorkers don't have this strange contraption known as a grill, this dish can easily be made in the oven and served as a delish Italian appetizer at your next summer fete. It's a healthier, less messy answer to the eggplant rollatini that you might find as antipaste at a catered event. Sure, I have a weakness for cheese, but that doesn't mean that I should overdo it with a ton of ricotta and mozzarella! Because you'll be using a few simple ingredients for this recipe, make sure you buy the freshest that you can find.
* 10 thin slices of eggplant (one large eggplant will suffice)
* 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
* 10 large basil leaves
* 8 oz mozzarella bufala, divided into 10 small chunks
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1/2 tsp. each salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley
1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees, or preheat grill burner to moderately high heat for ten minutes, then reduce to moderate heat.
2) In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and spices. Generously brush olive oil onto both sides of the eggplant. On a lightly oiled grill rack, grill eggplants until tender, about 15 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking. Transfer to a large platter. You can also bake the eggplant on a large baking sheet for 5 to 8 minutes on each side.
3) On one end of each eggplant slice, place a basil leaf; on top of the basil leaf, place half a cherry tomato and a ball of the mozzarella bufala. Roll up the eggplant slice and secure with a toothpick, with the seam of the roll facing down. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices, basil, tomatoes, and cheese.
4) Place a sheet of foil over the grill, and arrange eggplant rollups over the foil. With the grill cover closed, cook eggplant rolls for another 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted; similarly, bake eggplant rolls on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from grill, and serve hot.