Smoked Eggplant with Mozzarella (Involtini di Melanzana Affumicata)

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.

Ingredients

For 4 servings

1 eggplant

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

Instructions

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.

Wine pairing

This is nice with a dry rosé. Even more special with an oaked rosé, such as Château Romassan.

Flashback

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.

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13 thoughts on “Smoked Eggplant with Mozzarella (Involtini di Melanzana Affumicata)

  1. Great ! Every eggplant recipe welcome ! Have meant to buy a table top smoker for ages to prepare fish Nordic style . . . can’t wait to try ! Sail- or motorboat ? On the river ? The water looks perfectly calm ., . .

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmph! Now I am jealous – love the barge idea . . . only the Dutch would do that ! Used to be a Sydney Harbour sailing boat gal myself . . . oh, trout, herring and salmon for me . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am intrigued by your table top smoker, does it not make your house all smoky inside? I use our BBQ to smoke things so it might be enough to cook the eggplant as I am smoking it. Will definitely try this recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Eva,
      When it’s not raining I use the table top smoker outside, or like I did here on our boat. Indoors I have a very powerful kitchen vent that will get rid of the smoke before it can move into the house. I have noticed that most kitchen vents are pretty useless.
      If you have a BBQ with a lid you can cook and smoke at the same time like you mentioned. However:
      A gas operated BBQ is easy to get started but you won’t get smoke and would have to add wood chips or something.
      A charcoal operated BBQ is more work to build and maintain the correct amount of heat and smoke. That is why my method of electric oven and tabletop smoker is handy.

      Like

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