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Eggplant Rollups (Involtini di melanzane)

November 28, 2010 7:26:34 PM PST
Recipe from Mamma Agata's Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 2 Japanese Eggplants (long, thin and firm) - Sliced lengthwise into thin strips (about 1/8 inch thick)
  • 6 Sun-dried tomatoes - Sliced lengthwise into thin strips (less than 1/8 inch thick)
  • 20 Arugula Leaves
  • 50 grams or 1 3/4 oz grated Parmigiano Cheese
  • 50 grams or 1 3/4 oz Smoked Cheese (Provolone or Gouda cheese) - Sliced into thin strips (about 1/2 centimeter or 1/8 inch thick or less)
  • Sea Salt
  • Peanut Oil for frying (Vegetable oil may be substituted in the event of nut allergies)
  • Wooden Toothpicks
  • Layer the slices of eggplant around the edge of a colander; sprinkle each slice of eggplant with a pinch of sea salt.

    Allow the eggplant to soak up the salt for 15 to 20 minutes, this process will assist in draining out any excess water from the eggplant and remove the bitter taste from the eggplant

    Gently squeeze out any excess water from the eggplant slices, starting from the top to the bottom, 3 to 4 slices of eggplants at a time.

    Do not rinse

    Use your "ugly pan" following Mamma Agata's Frying Instructions

    Heat the oil in your "ugly" frying pan to about 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit).

    Fry each slice of eggplant until it is lightly golden brown. Drain and remove the eggplant from the oil and place the slices on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil

    Once the eggplant is cool to the touch, place the slice of eggplant onto a hard surface and sprinkle each slice of eggplant with Parmigiano Cheese, strips of finely sliced Provolone cheese and a few Arugula leaves

    Carefully roll each slice of eggplant making sure to keep the ingredients intact as you roll them. Place a wooden toothpick through the middle of each eggplant roll to hold the ingredients in place

    Prepare your second eggplant, this time using Provolone cheese and sun-dried tomatoes to create another unique flavor. Bacon, smoked ham and other ingredients may be added to the rolls too, depending on your individual tastes

    A great party serving idea is to slice the individual rolls into two pieces to create your own little Italian eggplant sushi rolls! These rolls make great appetizers for serving to your guests prior to the main course

    Mamma Agata's Frying Secrets

    About your frying pan:

    1. Frying pan should be ugly!!!

    2. Quantity of oil (1 Liter or Quart of Oil)

    3. Very Hot oil - At least 375 degrees Fahrenheit

    4. Quality Vegetable Oil (Peanut Oil works great)

    5. Clean oil every time

    Use the same frying pan for at least 3 to 4 years. (Mamma Agata calls this her 'Ugly Pan') The more seasoned the pan, the better the finished product will taste.

    Once you have finished frying your food, use a paper towel to clean the pan. Every once in a while, gently wash the pan with water and a mild detergent, especially after frying fish, and make sure that you dry your pan well after each washing.

    Use lots of oil in each pan - be very generous with your oil. The oil should be very hot oil to achieve the best results.

    The quality of the oil is important. Seed oils are the best for frying. Mamma Agata uses peanut oil; however, make sure that your guests do not have nut allergies. If so, use a high quality vegetable oil as a substitute.

    Olive oil is much too heavy for frying vegetables, as it creates too strong of a flavor in the finished product. Also, vegetable oil doesn't burn, smell or flavor the food.

    Be sure to use fresh oil for each batch - do not reuse the oil.


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