This is not the first recipe I’ve posted for eggplant and mozzarella, and it probably won’t be the last because they work really well together. What makes this version special is that the eggplant is smoked. I served this as an antipasto on the boat, which is why half of the photos were taken with my phone.
For 4 servings
1 buffalo mozzarella of 125 grams (4.5 oz)
8 basil leaves
good extra virgin olive oil
good balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp smoking chips
Cut both ends off the eggplant and discard. Make 4 nice slices lengthwise, as explained in this post. Lightly sprinkle all slices with salt on both sides, and allow the salt to draw out the juices for an hour or so.
Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels. There is no need to rinse, unless you used too much salt.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Brush the slices lightly with olive oil on all sides, including the skin.
Bake the eggplant at 180C/350F for about 20 minutes on an oven sheet lined with oven paper, turning them halfway.
The eggplant should be almost cooked and only slightly browned.
Parcooking the eggplant in the oven will ensure that the eggplant will be fully cooked, because the smoking will probably not be enough.
Prepare a tabletop smoker with about 2 tablespoons of smoking chips.
Place the eggplant in the smoker…
…cover, and smoke for 15 minutes.
The eggplant will come out nicely smoked.
Cut the buffalo mozzarella into 4 pieces, and season them with salt. Season the eggplant with freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle each eggplant slice with extra virgin olive oil and a bit of balsamic. Put a basil leaf on the eggplant, then the mozzarella, then another basil leaf.
Roll up the eggplant around the mozzarella. The involtini are now ready to be served.
This is nice with a dry rosé. Even more special with an oaked rosé, such as Château Romassan.
Spaghetti with spiralized zucchini, pine nuts, basil, extra virgin olive oil, and parmigiano (which you can think of as deconstructed pesto) is one of our favorite summer dishes that I make quite often.