As I prepared for two events this weekend, I went to my favorite places to shop. While Restaurant Depot is not the cleanest or most organized, I find myself excited every time my car enters the parking lot. I am still finding new things at great prices. On this particular day I was looking to get all my shopping done and would finish up at Market Basket. (my second favorite place to shop) I know - crazy.
My two finds of the day were the colossal shrimp at a great price since I needed 10 pounds and eggplant. They had a case of eggplant at the same price that it would have cost me even at Market Basket for what I needed to complete the job. My question was - what would I do with the rest? And let me just say, there was plenty!
So I head home with all my shrimp, eggplant, fresh herbs, and on and on to begin cooking. Immediately, I began by giving two eggplant to my Sister-In-Law Gail for her to take with her back to Arizona and then called my other Sister-In-Law Kathy who always wanted to learn how to make eggplant rollitini. This was her chance and my help for the day! She would not only learn a new recipe or two, but would take home eggplant! I think I won.
I began by slicing all the prosciutto I would need as well as the eggplant and we set up shop. Kathy was my savior as she carefully prepared the eggplant for frying.
Flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. I buy or make plain breadcrumbs and add salt, pepper, parsley and cheese. This is quite a process when you are making a lot of eggplant, but as Kathy said, "it's therapeutic". Exactly how I feel. She did a fabulous job as my sous chef.
Once it was all fried, we made the ricotta mixture adding parsley, egg and once again, cheese. Now I normally make these with pesto, but my customer wanted to eliminate that step. Why, I don't understand, but the customer is ALWAYS right. This was a special customer, Donna, whose daughter Amanda was engaged and they were celebrating. Donna is as close to family as one can get and I consider her part of my family.
Now back to the eggplant! They were covered with sauce with still more cheese on top and into the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.
While we were working batches of eggplant, I took four whole eggplants, covered them with olive oil and put the sheet pan into a 400 degree oven for almost an hour. Once removed, we let them cool slightly. They should be shriveled. I then sliced them down the middle, scooped out the eggplant and put into the food processor along with minced garlic, salt, pepper and EVOO. I added chopped plum tomatoes and done. I also grill flatbread brushed with oil and cut into small rectangles. It's as easy as that and delicious!
I ended up with great support for the day and Kathy left with Eggplant Rollitini's, Eggplant dip with flatbread and of course whole eggplants. Now I still need to figure out what to do with all the rest of those beautiful purple vegetables.
Did I say how much I love my family? Have a great week everyone!