Avocado and Frisée Salad with Cheese-Filled Eggplant Rolls

This recipe was inspired by a salad served at Ibiza, an excellent Basque restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut. The contrast of soft textures here is lovely—buttery avocado, tender roasted eggplant and oozy La Serena cheese.

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  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 narrow 1 1/2-pound eggplant, cut lengthwise into eight 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 ounces La Serena or other soft, ripe sheep's- or cow's-milk cheese, such as Edel de Cléron, rind removed, cheese cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Hass avocado
  • 3 ounces frisée, torn into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • Balsamic vinegar

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and arrange on a large baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Bake the eggplant for 15 minutes, or until tender.

  2. With a spatula, carefully loosen the eggplant slices from the baking sheet. Set one piece of cheese at the wider end of each slice and roll up neatly; the eggplant rolls should be seam side down. Bake for about 3 minutes, or until the cheese begins to melt. Halve the rolls crosswise and keep warm.

  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Halve and peel the avocado. Cut each half crosswise, then slice them lengthwise 1/3 inch thick. In a medium bowl, toss the frisée with 1 tablespoon of the dressing and transfer to a platter. Top with the avocado slices and the eggplant rolls. Drizzle the salad with the remaining dressing and sprinkle with the pine nuts. Pour drops of balsamic vinegar around the salad and serve.

Contributed By Published February 2005

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