The holiday season was certainly hectic. So much so that Lou couldn’t help Debbie and I make Eggplant Rollatini (one of his Christmas day staples) as he had hoped. As it turned out though, Lou was with us in spirit. He not only sent us his recipe, but purchased the Caccio Cavallo cheese for us, sliced the eggplant perfectly with his professional slicer and did a dry run with me in advance. He felt terrible that he couldn’t be with us and we certainly missed him, but nonetheless, he made sure to be part of the process. And as a result, we thought about him the whole time.
Debbie and I both needed a stress-free main dish for our holidays that could be made in advance and heated simply. Lou had been tantalizing me with his lightly battered and fried eggplant dish for years and it seemed like it would be perfect, especially when made with the garden fresh tomato sauce from summer. And it was. On Christmas Eve, all I had to do was pre-heat my oven and reheat fabulous meals that not only tasted great but were infused with memories of the time making it with a good friend during a busy season.
That picture above was taken as Debbie and sat together rolling cheese and fresh basil leaves inside light and fluffy eggplant pieces. Debbie was in charge of the frying while I made my chicken parmesan dinner. We sent this picture to Lou by text in the middle of our work so he could see us in action and be with us in some way. This snap shot was our one respite during a whirlwind time in the kitchen together frying, simmering sauce and assembling. As we sat across from other, taking deep relaxing breaths, we methodically rolled and rambled on with conversation. It was our yoga time, if that makes any sense! The only drawback — it took less time than we thought it would to roll the rollatini and before we knew it, we were finished and off and running to our next holiday must do task. Here’s Lou’s recipe, which I adapted for you all to follow. Enjoy!
Lou’s Egg Plant for Christmas
Adapted by Alison
8 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup Grated Pecorino Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (to 2) cups olive or canola oil
4 Eggplant — 1/4″ sliced
Large hunk Caccio Cavallo Cheese — shaved
Large bunch fresh basil — whole leaves
2 quarts fresh tomato sauce
In a shallow bowl beat the eggs, cheese and salt and pepper with a fork thoroughly. Dredge eggplant in flour then into batter. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Fry both sides of eggplant to a deep golden brown, careful not to burn, a few minutes per side.
Dain the eggplant on paper towels and allow the eggplant sit and wilt. Once all the eggplant has been fried and it has cooled, you will begin to stuff and roll. In the center of a slice place several slices of Caccio Cavallo, Three Basil leaves and roll. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with tomato sauce and place the rolls next to each other allow space for sauce to get in between, cover with sauce. Sprinkle with pecorino.
Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly.
* This step reduces flour from burning.