Being “severely pregnant” (as my 10 year old nephew puts it), has really hindered my cooking and eating habits lately. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that the two weeks until my due date feel like an eternity, and that I am dying to have it happen NOW. Friends have started telling me about foods that are supposed to get things going. Eggplant is one that keeps coming up again and again. But I have to be honest- I don’t love eggplant. I think it is the texture, or memories of eating mush as a child. But there is one eggplant dish that I really love, and have served at many summer parties I catered. It originated from the first cooking class that I ever took. I was a senior in high school, and I trucked out to the old Herb Farm, where they had set up an outdoor classroom. They had different chefs teaching segments all summer. The featured chef at that time was Marcell Kauer, of Hastings House Inn, Salt Spring Island, B.C. (hastingshouse.com)
Of all the things that we made in that class, the thing that sticks out in my mind was the amazing appetizer. It was a grilled eggplant roll-up with goat cheese inside. It is light, but satisfying because of the cheese. I think I may be eating a lot of this in the next week!
Here is my interpretation of the long lost recipe:
Grilled Eggplant and Goat Cheese Appetizer
-1 Large eggplant, thinly sliced into rounds, (about ¼ “ thick)
-Extra virgin Olive-oil
-Kosher salt and pepper
-8 oz log of soft goat cheese
-3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
-Kosher salt and pepper
1) Heat a clean grill or grill pan to medium heat.
2) Soften the goat cheese and mix together with the thyme leaves, and a sprinkle of salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Put the cheese mixture into a large Ziploc bag, and squeeze all into one corner of the Ziploc. Set aside.
3) Brush each side of each slice of eggplant with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4) Grill each slice for about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until soft and there are nice grill marks on the eggplant. Transfer the finished slices to a baking sheet and lay them flat and let them cool and rest while you grill the rest of the slices.
5) When the slices have all been cooked, then you are going to fill them with goat cheese.
6) Snip a small to medium sized hole in the corner of the Ziploc bag. Pipe a line of goat cheese down the middle of the slice of eggplant, and then roll the eggplant around the cheese, like a cigar.
7) When the “cigars” are all rolled, put them on a platter and serve still warm.