Happy Vegetable Story

This is the dish I fell in love with at Vedge in Philadelphia a few weeks ago. Actually, it is the reason I bought the cookbook.   It is straightforward but slightly time-consuming to prepare.  You will need a mandolin (or ninja-like knife skills).

Eggplant Braciole

serves 4-6

8 TBS olive oil

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1.5 tsp salt

1.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into very thin sheets, ends reserved

1 head cauliflower, leaves and stem removed (I used romanesco)

1/2 cup cooked rice (I used cooked farro)

1 cup firmly packed basil leaves (I used cilantro)

1 cup firmly packed baby spinach leaves

1/2 cup vegetable stock (I used leftover yogurt making whey)

1 garlic clove

1 TBS capers, drained

1 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400F

Combine 3 TBS of the olive oil in a small bowl with the balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Place the eggplant slices on a sheet pan in a single layer and brush both sides with this mixture.  Roast until the eggplant becomes translucent, 4 to 5 minutes being very careful not to burn the edges. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

Chop the cauliflower and the ends of the eggplant into 1" chunks.  Transfer to a large bowl and toss with 3 TBS of the olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Spread out vegetables on the sheet pan and roast until tender, 12-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and pulse in food processor to a rice-like consistency.  Fold into the cooked rice.

Assemble the braciole by laying two eggplant slices on a cutting board so that the long edges overlap each other a bit, forming one large rectangle.  Spoon a bit of the cauliflower mixture lengthwise down the center seam where the edges overlap.  Beginning with a short side of the rectangle, wrap the eggplant slices around the filling by rolling over the mixture.  Place on a sheet pan and roast until golden brown, 7-9 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the salsa verde by combining the basil, spinach, stock, garlic, capers, lemon juice and remaining 2 TBS olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in a clean food processor.  Pulse to a pesto-like consistency.

Transfer salsa verde into a small saucepan and heat over low heat just until it turns bright green, 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Top the braciole with the warm salsa verde and serve.

A few notes--I had a lot of filling--wound up slicing a second eggplant.  The extra filling I froze for future use.  The cilantro was just as delicious as the basil if I remember correctly.  You could probably substitute another cooked grain with similarly delicious results. 

DSC_5090.jpg