Eggplant roll-ups

(Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe)
May 26, 2010

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Serves 6

These roll-ups can either start the meal or accompany the main course at a barbecue. Create long, wide planks by slicing the eggplant lengthwise, then grill and fill with roasted red peppers and mozzarella. Roasted red peppers are available in jars at many markets, but it takes only a few minutes to grill your own. Blacken the skins completely so they come off easily when cool. Serve these on their own or accompanied by pasta and garnished with pesto or a favorite marinara and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

3 red bell peppers
2 large eggplants, trimmed and sliced 1/4inch thick lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
8 ounces mozzarella, cut into thick matchsticks

1. Light a charcoal grill and wait for the coals to turn gray; mound them in the center of the grill. Or set a gas grill to medium-high. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet and toothpicks.

2. Place red peppers over the hottest part of the grill. Roast for 15 minutes, turning often, or until charred. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and set aside for 20 minutes.

3. On baking sheet, arrange 1 layer of eggplant. Brush with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the slices, and repeat on the other side. Continue on all the slices.

4. Grill the eggplant for 2 minutes on a side or until they are tender and charred. Return the eggplant to the baking sheet; set aside.

5. Remove and discard the skins, seeds, and stems from the red peppers. Slice the peppers into thin strips. In a small bowl, combine the peppers with vinegar, salt, and pepper.

6. Lay the eggplant slices on a work surface with the widest end facing you. Place several strips of red pepper and a few pieces of mozzarella across the widest part of the eggplant. Roll the eggplant around the filling; secure with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining slices.

7. Set the roll-ups on a cool grill. Cover and cook for 3 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick