If you are into buying produce that is in season or if you're part of a local CSA you probably notice that now is the time for eggplant in the northeastern states. I love eggplant so much and would eat it every day if I could. Luckily, right now I can. So I do. A lot.
This year, I got a few of those skinny Chinese eggplants in my share, and didn't know what to do with them. I looked up some recipes but none of them were exactly what I wanted. But then my husband said, "Why don't you fry them up like you would regular eggplant and use them as dippers?" That sounded absolutely perfect. But of course, I had to take it a step further and make them even prettier. So I came up with these little Eggplant Rollatini bites that I think would be absolutely perfect for your next get together with friends!
Eggplant Rollatini Bites
- 6 skinny Chinese eggplants cut into thin rounds (about 1/4 inch)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 eggs- beaten
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs places in a large sealable plastic bag
- 1 quart frying oil
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2- 1 cup your favorite marinara sauce
- 10 basil leaves
Prepare your eggplant by salting the rounds generously and letting them sit for about 1/2 hour until the moisture is pulled to the top. Rinse off the salt and pat the eggplant dry between paper towels giving them a good squeeze to get as much liquid out as possible. Heat your oil in a deep pan to about 375°.
Toss the rounds in the flour shaking off any excess. Dip into beaten eggs shaking off excess. Then add the coated rounds to the bag of bread crumbs and shake them until coated.
Fry the rounds in batches in the oil until golden about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels until cool enough to handle. Layer one round with a dollop of ricotta, another round, a drizzle of marinara, and a small basil leaf. If your basil leaves are large, just cut them into slivers to use on each bite.
I actually served these as a meal last night with some pasta and the leftover marinara sauce. In fact, I think I might go have the leftovers for lunch right now...