march issue of bon appetit features "one-dish dinners, updates classics" with a picture of an eggplant dish on the cover. decided to try the dish, which has a freakishly long name eggplant parmesan rolls with swiss chard and fesh mint (phew).
anyways, printed out the recipe and took it with me to grocery store in a desperate effort to do at least once like the recipe says. as luck would have it, they didn't have even fresh mint in there, and i'm sure that they've never heard of swiss chard... as a matter of fact, i don't think i've ever seen it in finland! so much for following that recipe...
got fresh spinach instead of swiss chard, fresh basil and parsley instead of mint. low and behold, there was ricotta cheese! in addition to that i got some cottage cheese as well (i had never cooked with ricotta so wasn't sure how it would work). the eggplants then... it was almost as if some higher power had decided against me making this dish... the eggplants were so tiny that there was no way to slice them lenghtwise and roll something in them...
...so i had to slice them the other way. i don't usually bother with sweating the eggplant, this time i did. took out my colander, spread out a layer of eggplant slices, sprinkled generously with salt, another layer of eggplant, then salt... let them do their thing for an hour
then rinsed them well under running water and dried between kitchen towels
next placed the slices on oiled baking sheet and placed under broiler until nicely browned
got a nice pile of eggplant
then took out the basil and parsley, tore the leaves off the stalks and minced quite roughly
gave the spinach a bath
this blob is the spinach after a quick dip in boiling water, after vigorous squeezing. it was minced a little more finely than the herbs
made the filling in 2 batches, ricotta and cottage cheese. both got the same ingredients in them, basil, parsley, spinach, one egg, grated parmesan and ground balck pepper, that's ricotta under there, somewhere
poured half a can of crushed tomatoes on an oiled oven dish, placed one layer of eggplant slices on it, then some filling, eggplant, filling and eggplant. i would have used a slightly smaller dish, but this was all i had at the apartment. on the right in the picture you can see the cottage cheese filling, a lot lumpier than the ricotta on the left
then poured rest of the tomatoes on top
lastly, placed the sliced mozzarella on top, covered with foil and baked in 160C oven for 30 mins before taking the foil off and baking for another 20 mins, until mozzarella started to brown and bubble
it smelled amazing
after first bite i realized how much better it would have been if i had put some calamata olives in as well... this will definitely deserve another try, with the correct ingredients, even if i have to grown my own swiss chard...