While traveling, it is not always possible to have ALL the ingredients or exactly what you want on had. An RV will only hold so much. While on vacation, I was ravenously veggie hungry and had also been seeing some beautiful eggplant on a couple of previous shopping trips. I picked one up, took it back to our home on wheels and then wondered what the heck I was going to do with it. And, what did I have that would be good to go with it. This recipe was the result. So delicious that I will be putting this on the menu at home often! —vivisue
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Roma Tomatoes, halved
Scallion, thinly sliced
clove Elephant Garlic
large Basil leaves, rolled and sliced thin
fresh Oregano, chopped
White Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, grated
medium Eggplant, peeled
very thin slices of Pancetta
Fresh Cracked Pepper
In This Recipe
In a heavy skillet - I love cast iron for this - put about 2 tablespoons (or what is left in the bottom of your drizzle bowl) of extra virgin olive oil and heat on medium-high heat until pan is hot. Be sure your oil does not start smoking or burn. Everyone's stove is a little different, so keep an eye on your oil.
When oil is hot, place tomatoes in and grill on one side of the pan and saute' the scallion and garlic on the other side. Grill the tomatoes until slightly brown on both sides of the halves. Remove from pan and place tomatoes on cutting board and the sauteed scallions and garlic in a small bowl.
Wrap pancetta around eggplant quarters.
I like to unroll the pancetta and circle the eggplant. You can see I didn't do that here because my pancetta was a bit on the too-thick side. Besides, I LOVE pancetta, so a little extra was fine with me. If it is thin enough, you won't have to worry about using the toothpicks. The pancetta will stick to the eggplant with the olive oil on there and then, stick to itself. If you don't care for pork or want less salt, you can always use turkey bacon. You may need to sprinkle with a small amount of salt, however, to get bring out the flavor of the eggplant.
Place the wrapped eggplant quarters into the skillet and brown on all sides well. As you brown and turn, removed the toothpicks. After a little browning, the pancetta (even if a little thick like mine) conforms to the eggplant.
Remove pan from stove top and place in oven. Bake for about 25 minutes. (I finished mine on the top of the stove, but next time I will put in the oven. It will provide a more constant and even heat all around the eggplant.)
While the eggplant is in the oven, prepare your roasted tomatoes by rough chopping them. Add them to the bowl with the scallions and garlic. Then add your sliced basil, oregano, and vinegar. Grate some parmigiano-reggiano cheese - however much you want - into the bowl. Stir to incorporate ingredients.
When eggplant is done, remove from oven and serve on individual plate, spooning roasted tomato mixture over each portion. Top with a little more grated cheese. And, you know, most of this meal could also be prepared right on the grill. YUM!
Serve with a simple green salad.