Today I hosted a luncheon in honor of my mom and sister who are visiting. I immediately knew what I wanted to make and the beauty of the menu was that just about everything could be done ahead of time, with the exception of the bread for the frittata di pane which is a cross between bruschetta and a savory french toast. Trust me, this is a great dish to serve for lunch so I recommend trying it while tomatoes are at their peak.
Our guests were sisters, who like us, grew up in an Italian American family and so in the spirit of our ancestors, the menu was Italian featuring summer produce.
Figs with Prosciutto
Frittata di Pane (with tomatoes from my garden)
Feta-Stuffed Eggplant Rolls with Salsa Verde
Peaches Baked with Amaretti Cookies and Almonds
Eggplant Feta Rolls
1-1 pound firm eggplant
olive oil for brushing eggplant
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup whole milk ricotta
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped finely
3 red bell peppers, roasted (or 1-14 oz. jar roasted peppers, rinsed and patted dry)
1 bunch arugula (washed and dried)
Preheat broiler. Cut eggplant lengthwise and arrange center slices on an oiled baking sheet. Brush with more oil and and season with salt. Broil eggplant about 3″ from heat until golden, about 5 minutes, then turn over and broil other side. Instead of broiling you can also roast in 450 degree oven until cooked. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a small bowl mash together ricotta, feta, mint and salt and pepper to taste. Cut peppers lengthwise into pieces about the same size as the eggplant slices.
Top each eggplant slice with a piece of pepper. Put 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture near narrow end of eggplant and gently press on to it 2-3 sprigs of arugula. Roll up beginning with the cheese end to enclose the the cheese and arugula. You can make these ahead and keep at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
Serve drizzled with salsa verde.
1 cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
1 small garlic clove
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Makes about 1 cup.
This would also be great with a pesto (made with fresh basil) dressing.