Inspiration for this Mediterranean recipe was brought to us by our recent B + B Cerines guests… from Australia, of all places! I’m forever tinkering with recipes but our guests (and now friends) Cathy and David made me assume the role of student when we made them together during their stay. Their filling uses all feta with currants and toasted pine nuts, which was absolutely perfect for an intensely, Greek flavor. As most everything I cook somehow always gets filtered through the kaleidoscope of la cucina italiana, I’ve reduced the amount of feta and added in equal parts Italian ricotta, which balances out the saltiness of the feta. Instead of currants, I’ve chosen golden yellow and flame raisins (they’re red!) for color and texture. A small bunch of chopped marjoram balances out the flavor. Who knew grilled eggplant could be turned into an exciting bite that is the perfect addition to a cocktail party?
Involtini di melanzana
Remove stems from:
Slice the skin evenly off of one side of each eggplant.
With the cut side down, slice thinly lengthwise with a santoku knife. Alternately, slice on a mandolin with the cut side facing your palm.
Place slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Cover with paper towels. Repeat until all the slices have been prepped.
In a large bowl, combine:
- 15 gr./1 oz. toasted pine nuts
- @200 gr. / 6 oz. Greek feta
- @150 gr. / 6 oz. ricotta
- 30 gr. / 2 oz. golden raisins, or variety of raisins/currants
- 1 T. fresh marjoram leaves
- sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Place the eggplant slices on the stainless steel grates of the myGrill™ Chef SMART grill. Cook a few minutes each side, just until grill marks appear.
Lay the finished eggplant slices out on your baking stray. Put a teaspoon or more (depending on the size of the slice) of the cheese mixture on the thinner half and roll up. You will have a rounded side and a flat side. (If not serving immediately, you can refrigerate them until ready to serve.)
On a serving platter, scatter evenly:
- 2 T finely chopped parsley
Take each involtino and tap the rounded top onto the parsley. Invert and stand the rolled eggplant, flat side down, on top of the chopped parsley. (Arrange on one side of the platter so the other areas are free, repeating until all the involtini are garnished. Drizzle the platter with olive oil.
Tips for success
- Choose large eggplants that are longer than wider. Once you’ve got them on the grill, keep your eye on them as the thin slices can burn quickly.
- Cypriot salted anari would be a perfectly acceptable choice, as well, though check the mixture for salt once it is mixed with the feta. Salt contents vary in both cheese, so it’s best to check the mixture for saltiness and adjust accordingly.
- Tie a single chive around each involtino for added color and flavor.