The other day, Hillary and Faryl came over for dinner. Alena and I decided it was finally time to make a recipe I had noticed on epicurious and emailed to her a long, long time ago, especially since eggplant and swiss chard are now in abundance, AND Alena happened to have some fancy ricotta cheese left over from making gnutti for her parents (girl when you gonna post that?).
Well, it was a complete success. This is a delicious, lighter, summerier alternative to eggplant parm or traditional eggplant rollatini. The eggplant is broiled instead of fried, the Swiss chard adds some green, and the fresh mint gives it a nice kick.
Eggplant Parmesan Rolls with Swiss Chard and Mint
- 2 medium eggplants (about 2 1/4 pounds total), trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Coarse kosher salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1-pound bunch Swiss chard, center ribs removed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 15- to 16-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 8-ounce ball fresh water-packed mozzarella,* drained, thinly sliced
Cover bottom and sides of each of 2 large colanders with 1 layer of eggplant slices; sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Continue layering eggplant slices in each colander, sprinkling each layer with coarse salt, until all eggplant slices are used. Place each colander over large bowl; let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. (We just laid them out on paper towels, which worked fine.) Rinse eggplant slices to remove excess salt; dry thoroughly with paper towels.
Position oven rack 5 to 6 inches from heat source and preheat broiler. Line 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on prepared baking sheets. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil. Broil 1 sheet at a time until eggplant slices are tender and beginning to brown, watching closely and removing eggplant slices as needed if cooking too quickly, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove baking sheet from oven and cool eggplant while preparing filling.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add chard to pot and boil just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water. Squeeze chard very dry, then chop coarsely. Squeeze chard dry again between paper towels. Whisk eggs and pinch of coarse salt in medium bowl. Stir in chopped chard, ricotta cheese, 1 cup Parmesan, mint, and black pepper.
Lightly oil 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread half of tomato sauce evenly over bottom of dish. Divide chard-ricotta filling among eggplant slices, placing about 1 heaping tablespoon filling in center of each. Starting at 1 short end of each, loosely roll up eggplant slices, enclosing filling. Arrange rolls, seam side down, atop sauce in baking dish. Spoon remaining tomato sauce over. Place mozzarella slices in single layer over rolls. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with foil and chill.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake eggplant Parmesan rolls, covered with foil, until heated through, about 30 minutes if freshly made or 40 minutes if refrigerated. Uncover and bake until brown in spots and sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Here is us chilling on the fire escape while the eggplant baked: