Eggplant and Goat Cheese Spirals
I haven't been making good on my goal to trim some of my fat so far this year—the winter is just so right for plopping on the couch and eating anything and everything within arm's length (which is a whole lotta chips in my house right now). I've told myself that starting March 1st, I'm going to change that and take baby steps to get some veggies and exercise back in, in hope of being where I want to weight-wise by the time the Meatwave starts, allowing me to go hog wild this summer. I'm not sure if these eggplant and goat cheese spirals would be a step in the right direction or backward, but they're seriously delicious, continue on my rolling trend, and I totally want them right now.
I have a pretty love/hate relationship with eggplant—either I find creamy and mouthwatering or mushy and gross. I've been coming to understand how to get the best flavor and texture from eggplants, so I'm always left with the former sentiment.
Part of getting eggplant right is salting it and letting it rest for 20 or 30 minutes before cooking. This removes some moisture and bitterness, which leaves just the nice creaminess I really like after it's quickly grilled to lightly brown.
With the perfect eggplant base done for this recipe, it was time for roll creation. This started with a sprinkling of chives, thyme, and garlic. Then they got a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar, which added a nice tang.
A generous smear of goat cheese was applied before they were rolled and ready to be eaten. I used a regular, spreadable goat cheese here, but after eating the spirals, I'm under the impression that an herb goat cheese would make these even better.
The sharp goat cheese melted on the tongue perfectly with the creamy eggplant, and the herbs and vinegar filled out the flavor. I'm pretty sure I don't have to sacrifice any flavor or awesomeness in my pursuit to eat a little better, and while I'd like to think something like these spirals as incredibly delicious healthy food, I know I'm fooling myself. Never-the-less, a few of these and salad has to be a little better than my seemingly endless bag of chips, right?
Eggplant and Goat Cheese Spirals
- Yield 4 servings as an appetizer
- Prep 20 Minutes
- Inactive 2 Hours 20 Minutes
- Cook 4 Minutes
- Total 2 Hours 44 Minutes
- 1 large globe eggplant
- Olive oil for brushing
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Balsamic vinegar for sprinkling
- Leaves from 12 fresh thyme sprigs, finely chopped
- 1 log fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
- Cut off and discard a thin slice from the stem and blossom ends of the eggplant. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into slices 1/4 inch thick. Lay the slices on a double thickness of paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt. Let stand until beads of water appear on the surface, about 20 minutes. Rinse with cold running water to remove the salt and bitter juices, then pat dry with additional paper towels.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals evenly across charcoal grate. Brush eggplant slices lightly on one side with olive oil, then place them on the grill in a single layer, oiled sides down. Brush tops with additional oil and grill until eggplant begins to soften and grill marks are clearly visible, flip and continue grilling until soft but not too deeply browned, about 2 minutes per side. As the eggplant slices are done, use tongs to transfer them to a large platter.
- Arrange half of the slices in a single layer on another platter and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Scatter half each of the chives and garlic evenly over the slices and sprinkle with a little balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle all the thyme evenly over the top. Top with the remaining eggplant slices, again in a single layer, and scatter the remaining chives and garlic over the top. Sprinkle with a little more vinegar. Let stand in a cool place for at least 2 hours, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- When ready to serve, carefully spread each eggplant slice with an equal amount of the goat cheese and roll up into a tight spiral. Secure with a toothpick, if desired. Serve at room temperature.
Adapted from Cooking.com
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Mike Looooovely! Grilled eggplant is truly a great thing and when you add in the goat cheese...wow!