These have become something of a holiday party staple for me this year. They're just so dang good lookin' and everyone loves them. They're a no-fuss finger food that don't require plates, forks, or additional dips. You can just pick them up and put them in your face (in two bites, of course). I also like that that they're happy at room temperature and gluten free. You can prepare all of the elements the day before, and then just roll them up an hour or two before before serving.
3 medium eggplants - washed and sliced in to thin, wide strips
3 Tbsp oil (olive, safflower, canola)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 batch of Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup fresh arugula
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and cut into strips
fresh basil leaves (optional)
- Start by roasting the eggplant.
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk together oil, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
- Brush both sides of the eggplant strips with oil mixture and sprinkle with salt. Arrange on baking pans and roast, flipping once, until lightly browned and tender. About 40 minutes.
- Note: The thinner the better! Thick strips will take forever to roast and make for fat, rubbery rolls.
- While the eggplant roasts, blanch the asparagus.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and fill a large bowl with ice water.
- Trim off woody ends and cut each spear in half with a diagonal cut.
- Drop into boiling water for about 20 seconds - just enough to make them vibrant green and take the raw edge off.
- Fish them out of the boiling water and drop them into the ice water to stop the cooking.
- Drain well and place on a clean kitchen towel to soak up any excess water.
- Assemble Rolls
- On the bottom (fat part) of each eggplant strip, place a smear of Sun-Dried tomato pesto, two to three strips of kalamata olive, a few strips of asparagus (heads sticking out), a few leaves of arugula, and a basil leaf (if using). Finish with a crack of fresh pepper and roll it up! You may or may not need to secure it with a tooth pick.
- Note: If you're a cheese eater, consider adding some soft goat cheese or feta to the mix.
- Serve at room temperature. Each eggplant will yield between 6 and 10 rolls.