Oven-Baked Crepes with Cardamom-Scented Eggplant and Goat Cheese

For the crepes:
5 pounds eggplant
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups diced onions
2 tablespoons cardamom powder
salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup minced scallions
1 cup goat cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup ricotta cheese or cream cheese
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup fines herbes
1 teaspoon lemon zest
6 cups Swiss chard, cut into chiffonade
6 crepes (store-bought)
4 cups tomato-basil coulis (from recipe below)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
For the Tomato-Basil Coulis:
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
5 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
salt and pepper, to taste

Place the eggplants on a cookie sheet. Prick each one a few times with the tip of a small knife. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until the eggplants have collapsed and are completely cooked. Allow to cool to room temperature.

In a sauté pan, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until soft, tossing frequently. Add the cardamom, salt and pepper and cook five minutes more. Remove from the heat.

Split the eggplants open and scoop out the pulp. Place the pulp and the cooked onions in the bowl of a food processor. Begin pureeing, then drizzle in 1/2 cup of the olive oil and the lemon juice. When the mixture is smooth, add the cilantro and scallions and pulse once or twice. Remove to a mixing bowl and clean the food processor.

In the bowl of the food processor, place the goat cheese, ricotta (or substitute cream cheese) and egg yolks. Pulse to combine, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. When well mixed, remove to a mixing bowl and fold in the fines herbes and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Sauté the Swiss chard until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Drain in a colander and let cool.

To make the tomato coulis:
In a small pot, heat the olive oil with the crushed garlic. Add the tomatoes and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft. In a blender or food processor, puree with the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To assemble, place the crepes on a flat surface. Spoon 2-3 ounces of eggplant puree evenly over each crepe. Place some Swiss chard and 1 ounce of the cheese mixture at one end and roll like a cigar. Repeat until all the crepes are rolled.

Place 4 cups coulis in the bottom of a large, oven-proof casserole (save any extra for another recipe). Arrange the crepes over the coulis. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm with salad.

Makes 6 servings.

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