Aubergine Meat Rolls
Ground beef, pork, or lamb can be substituted for the veal in this dish.
Serves: 6Hands-on: 35 minutesTotal: 1 hour 45 minutesDifficulty: Medium
- 1 large round eggplant, cut into 12 slices
- 1 Tbsp. plus ½ tsp. salt, divided
- 1 large white onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 Tbsp. plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 lb. lean ground veal
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 cups tomato juice, divided
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup grated Greek graviera cheese
- ⅓ cup dried breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Sprinkle both sides of eggplant slices with 1 tablespoon salt and spread in a flower pattern in colander. Set aside to drain 30 minutes. Remember to flip slices at least once for better drainage.
- In large frying pan over medium-high heat, sauté onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil until soft; stir garlic in for 1 minute then add veal and sauté 8–10 minutes to brown it thoroughly.
- Add wine, 1 cup tomato juice, cumin, remaining salt, and pepper to the pan; stir well to mix completely. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once sauce has completely reduced and meat has absorbed the remainder, remove frying pan from heat and set aside to cool.
- Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet. Place flour in a shallow dish. Lightly dredge both sides of eggplant slices in flour; fry in batches until softened. Add more olive oil to pan as needed, but do it in a thin stream around entire circumference of pan so it seeps toward center. Shake frying pan back and forth with each batch to keep eggplant slices from sticking to bottom. Once eggplant slices have been lightly fried, spread on paper towels in a pan.
- Transfer cooled meat mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add cheese, breadcrumbs, mint, pine nuts, and egg; mix well to combine with meat. (Leave aside a few tablespoonfuls of shredded cheese for use as garnish later.) Pick up eggplant slice; place heaping spoonful of meat mixture in middle of one end. Roll up that end to complete a full end-to-end overlapping roll; use toothpick to pin in place.
- Place rolls side by side in close rows in a deep-walled pan greased with olive oil. Spoon tomato sauce on top of rolls in single stripe right along middle of rolled slices; sprinkle cheese on top of tomato sauce stripe.
- Bake 30 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with reserved shredded cheese while still warm.