Memorial Day Eggplant Involtini + Movies

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I’ve been at my parent’s house in Mesa for the past few days, which certainly has its benefits (including but not limited to Dad buying me tacos, getting to snuggle with cute dogs,  playing cards, receiving a cactus garden gift, and being treated to a burger and a new dress from Mom). All four of us were off for Memorial Day, so we decided to be patriotic (or at least very American) and went to the movies to see the new Captain America movie. We came home for cocktails and cards and made some very American treats: lemon bars.

At the moment, I’m watching Happy Days while the eggplant involtini finishes baking. And hey this dish is almost red, white, and blue (or purple). The recipe is based on this one from Alexandra Cooks. We even have another World War II-themed movie for the evening: The Monuments Men, which I’m guessing will be a little more my speed. It’s no burgers and beer, but the movie theaters and some eggplant is American enough for me. Happy Memorial Day!

These pictures were taken at our house the last time we made involtini. As you can see, Raena really wanted to try some.

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Eggplant Involtini

Serves 2

1 eggplant / salt olive oil for frying (I used canola oil) / tomato sauce / heavy cream / 1/2 c. bread crumbs / 1 c. part-skim ricotta / zest of 1 lemon / juice of 1/2 lemon 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, minced / salt and pepper to taste / parmesan

Trim the stem end of the eggplant and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Sprinkle the eggplant on both sides with salt, layer them in a colander, and let stand for 1 hour. Press the moisture from the eggplant and blot them dry. Pour olive (or canola) oil to a depth of 1 inch in a large skillet. Place 3 to 4 eggplant slices in the hot oil and cook until the slices take on some color, 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the slices to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining slices.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, ricotta, lemon zest, juice, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Spoon tomato sauce into a medium-sized baking dish until the bottom of the dish is covered in a thin layer. Place a spoonful of filling at one end of each of the eggplant slices. Roll the slice around the filling and place it seam-side down in the dish. Spoon a tablespoon of cream (or less) over each roll. Bake 25 minutes. Top with parmesan.

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