Mariel here. I’ve been on the receiving end of more than a few not-so-subtle hints recently. My mom, pining for the day when I usurp responsibility for holiday dinners, lunches, brunches, breakfasts and desserts, has been encouraging me to find Christmas recipes I might be interested in making. But why would I do that when she does such a fantastic job herself?
In the spirit of compromise, family peace and our food-focused blog, I decided to start small this year and come up with a new appetizer. And as I mentioned to our friend Veggie Girl, this one should please the vegetarians in the crowd (not the vegans, though). Baby steps get on the bus…
Eggplant Pinwheels with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Makes 20 pinwheels
Note: These can be made up to 2 days in advance, just store covered in the fridge. Warm to room temperature before serving, or pop them in the oven at 350 degrees and heat for about 7 minutes.
1 large eggplant (approximately 1.5 lbs) cut into four quarters lengthwise – $2.46
1 puff pastry sheet (I used Pepperidge Farm) – $4.49
1 large shallot minced (approximately 2 TBS worth) – $0.60
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (look for a brand that’s not packed in oil) – $1.25
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted – stock
1/3 to 1/2 cup of goat cheese or low-fat Alouette cheese – $3.99
2 TBS olive oil, divided – stock
1 tsp balsamic vinegar – stock
1 clove garlic minced – stock
1 tsp oregano – stock
freshly ground pepper – stock
1 egg (for egg wash) – stock
1 TBS water – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $12.79
Cost per pinwheel: $0.64
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take a sheet of the puff pastry out of the freezer and defrost on the counter top.
2. Sweat eggplant quarters by sprinkling both sides with salt and placing on paper towels. (I use cookie racks for this.) Allow the vegetables to stand for 20 minutes, and then blot them dry with fresh paper towels.
3. Transfer the eggplant to a greased jelly roll pan, paint both sides of eggplant with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano and roast for 45 minutes at 400 degrees until very tender.
4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat a TBS of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute 3 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Add the sun-dried tomato and saute another minute then remove from heat. Set aside and add a dash of ground pepper and the toasted walnuts (you can toast walnuts right in the toaster oven on tin foil. Keep an eye on them to avoid burning…).
5. Once the eggplant is done roasting, allow to cool for 10 minutes (or until you can handle comfortable), scoop the flesh from the skin, chop and add to the walnut/sun-dried tomato mixture. Add the balsamic vinegar. Using a stand or hand mixer, mix until the texture becomes a thick, chunky paste.
6. Beat together the egg and water in a small bowl.
7. On a floured surface, roll out the defrosted puff pastry to an 11″ X 11″ square. Brush the top with the egg wash. Spread the goat cheese/Aloutte evenly on the puff pastry, then spread the eggplant mixture on top of that.
8. Starting with the side closest to you, roll up the puff pastry then cut it into 20 1/2″ slices.
9. Transfer the slices to a greased jelly roll, brush the tops with the egg wash and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes (or until golden brown). Enjoy!