Eggplant Involtini with Quick Summer Tomato Sauce
1-2 Globe Eggplant (be sure they are firm; you do not want seedy ones!)
3 oz. fresh chevre (we use the local Penny Royal Farms “Laychee”)
12 Sundried Tomatoes in Olive Oil
1 Bunch fresh basil
Olive Oil, Salt, & Pepper
4 large cloves garlic, minced
½ white onion, minced
1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Olive Oil, Salt, & Pepper
Large Sauté Pan
Using a sharp large chef’s knife, slice the top and bottom off the eggplant. Place the eggplant bottom side down and hold steady. Position the knife perfectly perpendicular to the cutting board surface and keep as steady as possible. Begin slicing 3 mm., or just under ¼ inch slices of eggplant, until all of the eggplant is utilized. You will not use the first or last slice, as they will be all peel on one side.
Place two layers of paper towel on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt. Place the slices of eggplant down and sprinkle again with salt. Cover with two more layers of paper towels. Continue, stacking the layers on top of one another, until all eggplant are seasoned and covered. Let sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
Chiffonade the sundried tomatoes. Set aside. Wash the basil and remove all of the leaves, stacking them one on top of the other. Set aside. Have ready the tempered goat cheese.
Light the grill. While the grill is heating, you can prepare the tomato sauce.
Heat a large sauté pan to high. Add ¼ cup or so of olive oil. Immediately add the tomatoes. They may sputter, so beware. The idea is to char them a bit, so don’t move them around in the pan for a minute or two. Once they have some color, they will begin to drop liquid. Add the garlic and onion at this stage. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Hold warm. Ambient is ok, too!
Lightly press the eggplants with the paper towels to extract any remaining moisture. Remove the towels. Brush the eggplant with the olive oil and season with fresh ground pepper. Place on the preheated, HOT, CLEAN, grill until nice marks form. Turn over when ready. When finished, remove from the grill and line up on a sheet pan.
Beginning at the wider end of the eggplant slice, about an inch from the bottom, spoon a layer/line of goat cheese along the bottom, width-wise. Place several slices of sundried tomato, followed by a couple basil leaves. Roll the eggplant from the bottom, creating a parcel.
This can be done several hours ahead of time.
When ready to serve, heat for 5 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Top with a spoonful of fresh tomato sauce and a chiffonade of the remaining basil leaves. Don’t be stingy with either! Enjoy!