Gluten Free Eggplant Roll Ups Recipe
I’ll never forget the first time I entertained on a big scale. I was 20 and it was a huge bridal shower for a good friend. I thought the secret to good entertaining (especially for a bunch of women) was to impress with fancy, complicated food and over the top decorations.
So there I was, un-showered, in my robe, sweating over the stove, stirring a fussy sauce and trying to single handedly see to all the last minute details that EVERY SINGLE DISH I was preparing needed. The decorations were only partially done, the vacuum cleaner was still out (I had only managed to vacuum half the living room) and I had piles of dirty pots and pans strewn everywhere in my kitchen.
Fortunately for me one of the older and wiser ladies of our group showed up early to help. After eyeing me with a look that plainly stated “OK, clearly you are stupid, I’m just going to have to take pity on you” she took the whisk from my hand, shooed my out of the kitchen, told me to finish vacuuming, put out a vase of flowers, scrap the elaborate decoration plan and get dressed! Her words of wisdom were “it is ok for you to be cooking when people come, NOT ok to be vacuuming.”
I have since learned to take the stress out of entertaining. I clean and decorate the day before and I keep the food great but simple.
These gluten free eggplant roll ups are a bit on the fussy side and I would not make them i I was having 20 for dinner but for a small dinner party I think they are delightful. Plus they can be made ahead and if the rest of the meal is simple (like maybe a roast leg of lamb and some Greek potatoes) then this one fussy little dish is acceptable. (Assuming the vacuuming is done that is!) And if tying them up with blanched chives is just a bit too over the top for you, use a pretty tooth pick to secure them instead.
I make these with a grill pan. I was recently sent a new grill pan by the great people at Scanpan. I gotta tell you I LOVE THIS PAN! It is non-stick yet you can cook at high temps and get those great grill marks we love. It cleans well and they even come with a lifetime warranty.
And – I am gonna GIVE ONE AWAY! Yep, that’s right – a $150.00 ceramic, titanium, state of the art, super cool grill pan – just giving one away. All you need do is leave a comment on this post before Sunday, September 6th, midnight EST and you are qualified to win. I will randomly pick a winner. Just please, please, please make sure I have a way to contact you if you win. It would really be a bummer to win and never know you did!
- 12 long chives
- 2 red peppers
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 large eggplant
- 8 ounces herbed goat cheese
- 1 handful baby arugula leaves
In a shallow bowl place some ice cubes and cold water, set aside. In a skillet or medium pan bring about an inch of water to a boil and then blanch the chives for about 5 seconds. Using tongs remove chives from boiling water and drop immediately into the ice water. When the chives are cold, remove from the cold water and lay out on paper towels to dry.
Meanwhile place peppers under broiler or over a flame and blacken the skin completely. Place in a large bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap and let set for about 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Remove skin and stem, scrap out the seeds and cut each pepper into 12 slivers.
Heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add the pine nuts. Toast for about 5 minutes shaking frequently until browned but not burned.
Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano.
Slice eggplant into ¼ inch think, round slices. You will want to have 12 slices in all. Brush oil and vinegar combination on both sides.
Heat grill pan over high heat until hot. Lay on the eggplant slices and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, you want nice grill marks and for the eggplant to get soft but not mushy or dried out.
When done on both sides, remove eggplant to a plate and brush one side with more oil and vinegar combination.
For each roll up lay out one blanched chive and top with an eggplant slice, top eggplant with a few arugula leaves, two red pepper slices (let these over hang the sides of the eggplant slices a bit) crumble on some goat cheese and add some pine nuts. Pull up the sides of the eggplant to the top and tie the chive in a knot to secure. Alternatively you can just secure the top with a toothpick.
Can be made a few hours ahead and kept in the fridge, wrapped with plastic wrap. Take out of fridge about ½ hour before serving.
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