Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Eggplant Parcel

I was really inspired with the fresh tomato sauce I had on hand yesterday and decided to make a little treat. Eggplant is my favourite 'fruit'.. it's actually classified as a fruit but eats like a veggie. There's something so wonderfully rich and velvety about it. I love the way it takes on flavours and enhances them by adding a soft pillowy cushion of texture. It collapses to your bite and embraces your mouth with a smoky goodness that's impossible to beat. I've stuffed them with mozzarella and fresh basil for even more sinful goodness!

1 Italian eggplant cut into thin lengthwise slices (about 4-5 per ramekin)
2 cups FRESH tomato sauce (see my tomato sauce recipe)
4 tablespoons buffalo mozzarella
four fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a nonstick pan heat half the olive oil and add the eggplant slices in one single layer. Fry on medium-low heat until golden on both sides (about 3-5 minutes). Place on a paper-towel lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat until you've finished frying all the eggplant (you may need more oil).

Place ramekins on a baking tray and rub with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Place one end of the eggplant in the center of the ramekin and gently press it along the bowl so it adheres to its structure. There will be extra eggplant hanging over which is important. Repeat this until the ramekin is covered with eggplant and has an open center. Place a tablespoon of tomato sauce on top of the eggplant, then a tablespoon of mozzarella, a basil leaf and one more tablespoon of tomato sauce. Fold the hanging pieces over so that the filling is covered. Top with a small amount of sauce (about 1 teaspoon). Repeat until you've finished all your ramekins and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Let it cool slightly and then flip it onto a plate. Finish with a light drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil.

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