February 2, 2010 § 3 Comments
Is eggplant one of those fruits (often thought of as a vegetable) where people either like or don’t like? I certainly don’t come across a lot of recipes for it. But it is very versatile and has healthy benefits (low cal, no fat, source for potassium/iron/protein/fiber). Not much flavor on its own IMO but it absorbs other flavors from a dish, kind of like tofu. From what I understand, some eggplants shouldn’t be eaten raw (especially young ones) since it’s part of the Nightshade family. My mom used to make a couple of awesome Chinese dishes using Chinese/Japanese variety (the narrow ones) so I pretty much grew up loving eggplant. The Mister really only have had eggplant in eggplant parmesan (using the oval gord-shaped ones), which he loves.
I recently watched Giada make her version of Eggplant Timbale. I believe an Italian timbale is any layered dish cooked in a mold then turned out. Timbale basically means mold. The way it was made was really interesting and since I knew we would love the pasta filling, I decided to try it.
I followed the recipe with the following exception: had to use almost 3 eggplants, used all Italian sausage, used only regular mozzarella since the store I went to didn’t have smoked mozzarella).
After reading some of the reviews, I was a little nervous as to how it would flip out since some people had the whole thing fall apart. But I decided to let it sit for 15 minutes after I removed it from the oven (as one reviewer suggested) and the whole thing came out perfectly. Oh yeah, one thing that they don’t tell you in the recipe and I didn’t read it on any of the reviews but if you are using a springform pan, make sure you wrap the bottom with aluminum foil or put the pan on a baking sheet in case there’s liquid seepage.
Here’s a shot of the cut timbale.
It turned out well and reminded us a bit of an inside-out eggplant parmesan as far as flavor. Grilling the eggplant gave it a very nice flavor. I could definitely taste the EVOO that was brushed on it so note here to use a brand that you would use for uncooked dishes. I used Barilla’s jarred marinara sauce, which was a little sweet for my taste but still good. The one thing that I would do differently next time if I’m using all Italian sausage is to cook that up separately (made first) and then drain most of the excess fat out.
The dish was pretty straightforward, where grilling the eggplant took the longest. It certainly would be a nice dish to dazzle company and can easily serve up to 6 people with a side dish. It heated up just fine the next day as leftovers.