Today's Meatless post is from our friend Kelley Lear, @SuburbanSous. Check out her blog at http://suburbansous.tumblr.com. She has other yummy and healthy recipes for meals and juices, too.
"I should start by saying that I hate eggplant. It has always given me the creeps, but after delivery upon delivery of the bulbous purple things from my CSA, I decided that it was time to conquer them. I figured frying them would go a long way in their favor but didn't want to go the expected "Eggplant Parm" route. I found a base recipe I liked in Veganomicon and then spent some time experimenting with coatings, stuffings and sauces. I un-veganed it, crunchied it up a bit with panko and added fresh basil to the stuffing and the eggplant is now my friend. My friend that I eat. And like."
Here is the recipe.
- 2 Large Eggplants
- 1 Jar of Your Favorite Marinara (Homemade? Even better)
- 1 Container Ricotta (I adore Maplebrook Hand-Dipped Ricotta)
- 1/2 c. spinach leaves, washed and dried
- 1/2 c. basil leaves, washed and dried
- 1/3 c. toasted pinenuts (substitute with blanched, slivered almonds if you like)
- Oil for frying
- 1 c. flour (a mix of whole wheat and unbleached white works nicely)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 c. water
- 1 c. breadcrumbs
- 1 c. panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 c. parmesan
Cut the eggplant lengthwise as thinly as you possibly can. Go slow, it’s worth it to get them nice and thin, no more than a 1/4 inch, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Salt the eggplant and put them aside in the colander to drain. It’s amazing how much liquid will come out of them this way.
Lightly toast the pinenuts in a skillet on medium, keep them moving so they don’t burn. They toast up quickly. Set them aside.
Set up three shallow dishes. Add flours to first and salt and pepper it. To the second, add eggs and water and mix with a fork. To the last, add breading, dried herbs and parmesan and combine.
Drain and rinse eggplant, pat dry. Begin to preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Fill a heavy skillet with about 1/4” of oil. I like to use a mix of olive and grapeseed. Let heat over medium to medium high heat.
Dredge eggplant in flour, shake excess, then dip in egg mixture and finally, coat with breading and gently press mixture onto both sides. (Your hands will be a mess, but worth it, promise.) Finish a couple more and add to hot oil. Cook on each side until golden, this should only be a few minutes for each side. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and continue the process until you have worked your way through all of the eggplant.
After the eggplant is cool enough to handle, you can begin assembling. Pour about 2 cups of sauce (or half the jar) into the bottom of your baking dish.
Lay eggplant slice out with the skinny end pointing at you, lay a few spinach leaves, a few basil leaves and about 2 Tbsps. of ricotta. Top this with a sprinkling of toasted pinenuts. And then carefully roll up and add to baking dish. Continue stuffing and rolling until you’re done. Pour your remaining sauce over the rollatinis and bake for 20-30 minutes until they’re heated through and the sauce is bubbling a bit. If you like, during the last 5 minutes of baking, top with more pinenuts and a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
Garnish with a little fresh basil when you plate it up if you like. Looks fancy.
Editor's note: Submit your favorite vegetarian dish to be published in our Meatless Monday feature by e-mailing a recipe and photo to ana at fearlesscottage.com.