Friday, October 1, 2010

Eggplant rolls and baked caprese cod

Wow, I can barely type tonight, I'm so full!  I'm pretty excited about all this new food I'm trying.  Tonight I needed to use the eggplant before it went bad, so I found a recipe online for baked eggplant rolls -  This recipe caught my eye because it also uses basil, which I also need to use up.  Plus it has cheese, and I can never resist any recipe with cheese!  This recipe is more of an appetizer or side dish so I decided to have a piece of cod with it.  I looked around online and got some ideas, and came up with a baked caprese cod - my own name.

First I began preparing the eggplant.  An interesting thing about this recipe is that it starts by having you sprinkle a bunch of salt on the sliced eggplant and let it sit for 10-15 minutes per side.  This is supposed to take the bitter juices out.  If you've only had eggplant once or twice and thought it had an odd taste, try this trick!  While the eggplant was sitting, I prepared the cod.  First I brushed it with olive oil and lemon juice.  I prefer sliced lemons but I didn't have any.  I chopped up some basil (from my CSA basket) and sprinkled that on top, along with some sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Then I topped the cod with thin tomato slices and some mozzarella, leftover from the caprese salad the other day.  This all went into a baking dish in the oven at 350 and cooked for 25 minutes or so, until the fish is done.

I rinsed the salt off the eggplant slices and patted them dry with paper towels, then briefly fried them in olive oil with some minced garlic.  You will start to notice that I use lots of garlic in cooking, I love it!  And it's good for you.  If a recipe calls for 1 clove, I usually use at least 2.  Fair warning in case you come over to my house :-)  I fried the eggplant a couple minutes per side, in 3 batches to get them all.  I put them on paper towels to get most of the oil out, but after eating I wish I'd removed more of the oil.  On each eggplant slice I spread some pesto sauce (in a jar, from Sprouts), grated mozzarella, salt & pepper, and torn basil leaves.  The next part was the hard part - I rolled each slice and used toothpicks (plain, not colored) to keep them closed.  This was much easier said than done!  Some ended up folded, not rolled, and a few did not stay closed during cooking.  But the majority worked pretty well.  This was a messy process!  They all went in a baking dish in the oven at 350 for about 9 minutes, when the cheese was nice and melted.

I also made another salad, same as last night.  Since I wasn't able to upload a pic of the salad dressing I made last night, here is a pic:

Here is what the cod and eggplant looked like after they were baked:

There was a lot of olive oil between everything, so I'm glad it's good for you!  The cod and the eggplant complemented each other very well, since they both had basil and mozzarella.

Earlier today I also shelled the black-eyed peas to get ready to cook them tomorrow.  They will be going into a slow cooker for a good portion of the day, though I won't be eating them tomorrow since I'll be at a wedding.

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