Monday, February 3, 2014

The Primal Eggplant: Tweaking Eggplant Rollatini

If you are a vegetable lover like me, you probably are pretty open to trying mostly any vegetable out there.

If you continue to be like me in such matters, you are still--no matter your openness--wary of the eggplant.

In defense of myself, I am (mostly) a believer in the food adage: "In-order-to-know-if-you-really-like-something-you-have-to-try-it-10-times." So, eggplant and I keep trying.  Yes, I discovered the amazing coal-roasted eggplant this summer, which I truly did love.  But, if you've been watching the news as of late, it's not necessarily grilling season up here in Wisconsin.

In perusing my David Rocco cookbook, Made in Italy, the other day, I came across this winner of a recipe (approved by two teenage boys--and I didn't even lie about what it was!): Involtini di Melanzane e Provola.  I adapted it for my primal husband, which is the version I've posted below, but you can use flour instead of the almond meal if you wish.  I do encourage you to give it a try the primal way, though.  I think you'll be happy you did.  The slightly nutty flavor was one of the things the boys liked about it.

1 medium eggplant
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 cup almond meal (I used Trader Joe's) in a pie plate
1 egg, beaten in a pie plate
Extra virgin olive oil for frying (amount will depend on the size of your skillet; you want it a good 1/4 inch deep)
12 slices of smoked provolone

As thinly as you can, slice the eggplant lengthwise.  I got about 12 slices, and that includes discarding some that were just wonky (I'm not very good at slicing thinly and evenly).  Salt the slices heavily and let rest for half an hour to draw out the water.  Pat dry.

Get a plate and a pile of paper towels ready.  Heat the oil in a skillet until it is almost smoking.

Dip a slice of eggplant in the almond meal, coating both sides, then dip it in the egg, coating both sides.  Let the excess egg drip off, then lay the eggplant in the hot oil and fry for about a minute until golden brown.  Flip and get the other side golden.  Remove to a paper towel to absorb excess oil.  Repeat for the rest of the eggplant slices.

When you are done frying, lay a slice of smoked provolone on each slice of eggplant and roll up, lining the rolls up on a warm platter.  Season with fresh cracked pepper.  If you wish, spoon some of Beppe's tomato sauce over the top.

Eggplant Rolls with Marinara by David Rocco

Delizioso! I promise!

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