After some more serious posts, I thought I’d give you something uplifting for a change – more photos of food!
I’ve mentioned our new menu in a previous post, and wanted to share one of the new dishes coming off of garde manger (pantry station). This is the Eggplant Involtini. ‘Involtino’ is an Italian word, and in the culinary world is traditionally a piece of meat rolled up with filling in the middle and cooked. In our case, we have a thin slice of grilled eggplant, rolled up with a ricotta filling.
Pastry bags are not just for piping frosting onto cupcakes! In fact, pastry bags are used quite often on the culinary side for paste-like fillings. On the pantry station, we pipe creamy goat cheese onto our beet salad plate.
Back to the eggplant. The eggplant is sliced super thin on the slicer (like you would find at the deli), and seasoned with black pepper and salt, and a little bit of oil, and then grilled until tender. We let it cool on a sheet tray, and then pipe the ricotta filling on when they are cool. In the photo above, my co-worker Mike pipes the filling onto the eggplant in a strip on one end. That way, we can roll up the eggplant slice around the filling to make a roll, or involtino, as it were.
This is me rolling up the eggplant. You can see a tiny dab of the filling on the opposite end of the slice – this is to stick it to the roll, that way it won’t unroll. Just behind my hands you can see the rolled up eggplant.
Here’s what the final product looks like. There is tomato relish in the middle on the plate. Placed atop, two eggplant involtini, with some crouton and micro greens on top. The micro greens are basically baby plants, in this case baby basil. The baby basil tastes intensely of basil, and of course micro greens make any dish look great. The ring around the involtini is made up of balsamic pearls in olive oil. Making ‘pearls’ is a new culinary technique created in the molecular gastronomy field. The pearls are little balls of liquid that are solidified in a chemical solution. When you eat them, they burst open to reveal their flavors. They kind of look like caviar. Here is a short video of how chefs make food pearls: Cilantro Pearls Video (the good part starts at 1:04).
I really had fun making these little guys!