Posts Tagged prosciutto

Eggplant Roll-ups Italiano

Eggplant roll-upsI remember when I was a kid, the thought of eating eggplant grossed me out. Man, was I DUMB. I can assure you that, once I was older and on my own, doing my own cooking and experimenting with flavors, things changed dramatically on this front.

Like stuffed mushrooms, there is almost nothing you can’t do with eggplant. However, I am starting off with this particular recipe because I made this just this past weekend for an event at my house. People simply could not get enough of these.


3 medium-large eggplants

1 medium Vidalia onion, minced

1 cup flavored breadcrumbs

8 oz prosciutto, sliced thin, cut in to very thin strips

3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

6 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

4 oz thick-shredded Mozarella cheese

1 tsp fresh chopped thyme

1 tsp fresh chopped sage

1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary

1 tsp crushed red pepper

6-8 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp minced garlic

3 tbsp coarse salt

Sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper

Several fresh parsley leaves (for garnishing)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Do not peel the eggplant! Cut it lengthwise into 1/4″ slices. Salt with the 3 tbsp coarse ground salt and place it in a colander to drain for about 30 minutes. Then, wash them well with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

To prepare the pine nuts, prepare them by chopping coarsely. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper. Place on a baking sheet and toast for about 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees.

Add 3 tbsp of olive oil to a large skilled and sauté the onions for about 10 minutes (until wilted). Add the breadcrumbs and stir continuously until they are browned. This will take about another 10 minutes.

Place the mixture in a large bowl with the toasted, chopped pine nuts, the proscuitto, herbs, garlic, crushed red pepper, Parmesan and Mozarella cheeses. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Brush both sides of the eggplant with the remaining olive oil and place them on a oiled baking sheet. Bake on the top shelf of an oven until lightly golden on both sides for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and pile them on top of each other to steam for about 5 minutes. This will make them easy to roll.

Divide the filling evenly among the eggplant slices. Place the filling on the wide end of the eggplant and roll them up. Place them on an oiled baking sheet. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Bake the rolled eggplant appetizers for about 10 to 15 minutes until golden. Remove them from the oven and place them on a serving platter. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves. These are delicious right out of the oven, or after they have cooled for about ten minutes.

Cook’s Note: These can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. When you’re ready to bake the final product, remove them from the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature before placing them on an oiled baking sheet.






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The Muffaletta

muffaletta-sandwichIn my previous life, I worked for a major corporation as an advertising manager. I loved my job. One of the best parts of my job was travel to New Orleans for the Pittsburgh Conference every single year. There is no doubt that New Orleans is the haven of unbelievably good food, and one of the best things I learned to make on one trip down there was the Muffaletta Sandwich.

There are probably several different versions of this sandwich, but I’m Italian. So that means I like the original that includes Italian cold cuts. I also recommend Italian Focaccia bread as an alternative to what you’d find in New Orleans. This can come in many different forms: A whole loaf, or square formats that are ideal for sandwiches. Some include olive oil and rosemary. Some include cheese. Doesn’t matter what you choose. As my work associates, who are much younger than I, say, “It’s all good.” If you use a whole loaf, it should feed three people comfortably. So, this recipe is giving you enough ingredients for three sandwiches, whatever bread you choose to use.

The highlight of this sandwich is the olive spread. It’s what gives it a kick. My recommendation is that you make the olive spread the night before and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. It’s also important that you give this sandwich proper “resting” time once it is assembled. (This sandwich reminds me of the Italian “subs” my mother used to make for us for Friday night supper.)

A nice big fat glass of red wine is ideal to go along with this (I like Cigar Box Malbec myself).

Ingredients for Olive Spread

1 cup of pitted olives, chopped (use a mix here of black, green, kalamata…)

1 tbsp minced shallots

1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips, roughly chopped

2 tbsp capers, rinsed, dried and chopped

4 Pepperoncini, roughly chopped

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp oregano, Tuscan seasoning or Italian seasoning (for the latter two, McCormick makes a great little mix)

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Mix these ingredients together and put them in the refrigerator overnight.

Ingredients for Sandwich

One loaf of Focaccia bread (or three individual, square Focaccias)

4 oz of Genoa salami

4 oz of Hot or Sweet Capicola

4 oz of Mortadella

4 oz of Prosciutto

4 oz of Provolone Cheese


If the bread is thick (and it usually is), hollow out a bit of the inside. Place a health portion of the olive salad on both the top and bottom of the bread.

Layer meat and cheese onto bottom half, and place the top on the sandwich.

Wrap the entire sandwich in either plastic wrap or aluminum foil (or both) and put a brick on top of the sandwich. (Yes, you read that right.) Allow the sandwich to sit for one hour so that the bread soaks up the olive spread.

Serve with a big ass glass of red wine. Simply unbelievable.

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