When I was at Wellesley for a music festival a few weeks ago, I had two entire weeks of college cafeteria food, just like it was back when I was in college. Before anyone cringes and dies, I have to say that the food at Wellesley College was mostly good, and was definitely leaps and bounds better than any college food I’ve ever had (and I should know, since I’ve been at three different universities in my entire studying career so far.) I’m not even kidding, the food was actually good – something I’d happily pay money for. I don’t want to comment about the food at my current university or my previous university (the food at my first university was great because that was in Singapore), but it was just awful and something needs to be done about that. Bring Jamie Oliver to American colleges please.
Anyway, one of the more memorable meals I’ve had at Wellesley College, among great fish tacos, grilled zucchinis (yeah, done on the grill and all!) and sweet potato tater tots, there was one dish that stood out – eggplant roulade!
Of course, I didn’t quite know what eggplant roulade was, other than rolled up eggplant (direct translation from French.) However, it was so good, and I asked the chef (who was incidentally an Asian dude) how he made it – and from then, the secret was exposed – oil. Egpplants love oil. Feed an eggplant oil, and it would taste delicious.
Obviously that is true, for we know how eggplants are sponges, but I was very hesitant about making things delicious by adding oil. It took me two tries making this dish, and I finally made a less oily version that does not compromise on the taste. Try it, it’s great! Jason calls this ‘alternative eggplant parmesan’.
Alternatives: Stuff it with other vegetables or meat!
- 1 large Italian eggplant
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 medium sized parsnip
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I prefer mozzarella but used Mexican blend since Jas likes that better.)
- between 1/2 and 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bottle pasta sauce
- [optional] May use other vegetables such as carrot instead of parsnips
Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 3/8-inch sections. (You will get between 8 and 12 pieces.) Slice the parsnip and red pepper into strips.
Throw the parsnip pieces in boiling water for about 1 minute to cook them a little. Drain the parsnips and let cool.
In a pan, add about 1/2 tablespoon of oil and fry the eggplant until the eggplant is slightly soft, but not entirely cooked. Turn the eggplant over and do the same. This will take about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and set aside. Do the same for the rest of the eggplant slices.
When all the ingredients are cool to touch, place some parsnip strips and red peppers strips on one end of the eggplant. Roll up the eggplant slice, keeping the parsnip and red pepper strips inside.
Place this eggplant roll, open side down, on a baking dish. Do the same for the remaining eggplant slices.
Pour a bottle of pasta sauce evenly over the eggplant rolls, and top this with shredded cheese.
Bake the eggplant rolls in the oven at 375F for 40 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!