January 19th, 2010

Eggplant Roulades

dinner plate roulade 2

Even though eggplant makes its seasonal appearance in the summer, there’s something inherently hearty about its nature that compels me to cook with it in winter. The kinds of dishes where it plays the starring role—-think eggplant parmesan, moussaka, even stewy ratatouille—-are really suited for cold weather times.

So are these roulades. Filled with creamy spinach-flecked ricotta and baked with a lush slather of red sauce, they make a fancy-pants casserole that you’d be pleased to serve on a chilly wet night.

baked roulades

At first blush, you’d think they might be testy to make, but they really are not. The trick is to slice the ‘plant long and thin. (even easier, if you have a mandoline at your disposal, which I do not!)

After the slices are gently roasted and cooled, they become quite flexible, rather cooperative. In the time it would take to boil some tubes of manicotti, your eggplant slices would be roasted and ready to roll.

roulade ingredients

The slices are also very forgiving. Uniformity doesn’t count, thank goodness for that. So, don’t fret about odd oblong pieces, or breaks in the slice. It doesn’t matter! Just place a nice spoonful of ricotta at one end and roll it up.

filling the roulades

rolling the eggplant

Once in place, I like to spoon the red sauce over and across the roulade centers, leaving the ends exposed, for contrast. Keep your remaining sauce warm–on stand by on the stove, for an extra embellishment when you serve. Or, add it to a side dish of pasta. I cooked up some pipette, and tossed it with a little red sauce and cream.

This is one of my departures from eating seasonally, I know. It’s not always easy to be a good locavore…especially in January! Nevertheless, the roulades really satisfy this time of year, and provide a good meatless alternative anytime.

oven ready roulades

Eggplant Roulades
1 large Eggplant
Olive Oil
Salt
1 lb. part-skim Ricotta (these days it comes in a 15 oz. container-which works just fine)
½ cup grated Parmesan
¼ t.Granulated Garlic
¼ t. Salt
¼ t. Black Pepper
1 Egg
a handful (about 2 oz.) fresh Spinach leaves
½ cup shredded Mozzarella

1 cup your favorite Marinara Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry eggplant and slice lengthwise into ¼” thick slabs—from one large eggplant, you may get 12 long slices.
Brush each slice on both sides with olive oil and lay onto a baking sheet pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt and place in the oven to roast for about 5 minutes. Slices will look somewhat translucent. Remove and allow to cool. They will be very flexible.

In a food processor fitted with a swivel blade, place ricotta, parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper, and egg. Process until smooth. Toss in spinach leaves and pulse until the spinach is coarsely chopped throughout the mixture, however not pureed. Scrape into a bowl and fold in shredded mozzarella.

Place a generous spoonful at the end of each cooled eggplant slice and roll up. Place into casserole dish. After all slices have been rolled and set in place, spoon your marinara sauce over the center of each roulade. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Makes 12 roulades, serving 4-6.

small hero roulade

Posted in Egg/Cheese Dishes, Recipes, Vegetables

12 Responses to “Eggplant Roulades”
  1. rachel Says:

    Oh delicious and I am now on a ricotta roll so we really are in tune. VIncenzo’s Mum makes lots of wonderful aubergine/melanzane rolls (often with ricotta spiked with capers and pinenuts) and we are extraordinarily fond of them, might have to try these.

  2. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Rachel–Spiked with capers and pinenuts–brilliant!! love that idea–there’s one to try.

  3. Jessica Says:

    This looks really good! I just got some organic pepper and Himalayan sea salt from Sustainable Sourcing https://secure.sustainablesourcing.com and I think I’ll try them both out in this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Says:

    This is such an elegant dish! It’s probably good that you do not have a mandoline, there have been so many times when I’ve nicked my fingers on them.

  5. Heather Says:

    Beautiful! Eggplant is one of my favorites.

  6. Fluffy Says:

    one question: do you sweat the eggplant before cooking?
    I have found the plant to be bitter.

    just curious

  7. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Good question, Fluffy
    When I am readying thick slices of eggplant for roasting, I do first sprinkle them with salt and let them sit out on paper towels for about 30 minutes. This draws out beads of water and eliminates bitterness.

    For the roulades, which are so thin, the simple brushing of olive oil, then light salting before roasting seems to suffice. I haven’t experienced any bitterness.

  8. Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes Says:

    Eggplant is something that I’ve been afraid of trying for a long time! But I just tried something with it and loved it! So I’ve been trying to find lots of eggplant recipes! This looks wonderful!

  9. Madeleine Says:

    Whenever I hear or read the word “moussaka”, I’m remind of this most hilarious SNL skit:

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/4135/saturday-night-live-patio-lovers

    Can’t wait to make the roulades!

  10. Leisa Hammett Says:

    Gorgeous. Both the food and the writing. I Tweeted and shared on MomsLikeMe.com. I am reminded of Michael Frank’s song about Eggplant. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrtQ6c3uUkI

  11. Renee Says:

    Just made and ate these for dinner. DELICIOUS!!! And really, really easy to make; My kind of dish!

  12. Robbie Says:

    The dinnerware plate you use on that eggplant roulade looks amazing. Any idea where I can get it? BTW, what do you call that plate.



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