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Aubergine and Chocolate. Yes, it sounds a bit weird, yet this combination works very well. There is a cake that is made on the Amalfi Coast (Campania - Italy) that includes aubergines and chocolate. This time I wanted to try a less demanding and most fun version.
Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 25 mins
- Dark chocolate: 200 g
- Caprino (spreadable Italian fresh goat cheese) or ricotta or clotted cream or greek yogurt or a fresh cheese of your choice: 200 g
- Aubergines: 1
- Mint, fresh: 1 sprig
- Hazelnuts: as needed
Cut the aubergine in thin slices, not thicker than 5 mm; a vegetable slicer usually ensures the best results. You don’t need to peel the aubergine.
Place the aubergine slices in a colander and sprinkle some rock salt all over them. Place the colander on a plate and balance a small pot full of water on top of the aubergine slices. This will ensure the aubergine is drained of most of its water and loses its bitter aftertaste. After 30 to 40 minutes, remove the aubergine slices from the colander. Make sure to get rid of all the rock salt, then dry the slices with a clean kitchen cloth.
Tip: Don’t worry if you don’t have time to drain the aubergine – although this technique usually brings on the best results, one must keep in mind it was developed in the last century. Have you ever noticed how old cookbooks have impossibly long boiling times for some vegetables? It’s because the plants had not yet been selected as strictly as they were afterwards, and some vegetables were indeed just less easy to cook. Most aubergines nowadays are not nearly as bitter as they used to be. Even if you really must skip the draining step of this preparation, your aubergine rolls will be just fine.
Quickly brown the aubergine slices in a pan or over a griddle; do not use any oil or butter!
Chop the chocolate and place it in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate at the highest setting for 1-2 minutes or until it melts completely.
Tip: If you prefer you can melt the chocolate in a bain-marie, on a stovetop. Put a pot full of water on medium heat and top is with a bowl or dish large enough to cover the pot like a lid. Place the chocolate pieces inside the bowl and stir gently until the chocolate has melted completely. If the chocolate melts unevenly and there are lots of lumps, add about 30 ml of water or 1 teaspoon of seed oil and stir thoroughly.
Tip: You can spice up your rolls by adding a pinch of cinnamon powder to the melted chocolate!
Roughly chop the hazelnuts and the mint leaves. Keep some mint leaves whole to garnish the plate.
Spread some of the chocolate on a shallow dish, then place an aubergine slice on top. Spread about 2 teaspoons of fresh cheese over the aubergine slice and sprinkle some mint over the cheese. Fold up the aubergine slice in a roll and coat it with the chopped hazelnuts. Proceed in this fashion until you use up all the ingredients.
Place the aubergine rolls in the fridge for at least half an hour, and take them out only about 5 minutes before serving them to your guests.