Sunday, September 5, 2010

Eggplant Calzone

FOUND IT: I saw Guy Fieti make it on Food Network.
MODIFIED IT: To simplify and replace some equipment I don't have.

This is a nice way to hide some eggplant, if you're not a big fan. It creates some extra filling, but there weren't any complaints about that here: I mixed it in with some tortellini and made a pasta bake.

Also, this may seem like a lot of ingredients, but don't be scared off. It's pretty easy, and most of the ingredients are things you might already have in your pantry or can easily find.

  • 1 tube of premade pizza dough*
  • 1/4 lb prosciutto, roughly chopped
  • 4-8 ounces Italian sausage
  • 1 small-medium eggplant, skin-on, cut into 1" or smaller cubes.
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted**
  • 2 tsp parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary, either leaves or ground
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/2 inch thick
* - Yeah, I cheat and use premade pizza dough. I've never had much luck making my own, and mixed results with other options.
** - You can either toast pine nuts in a single layer in a small pan until you can start to smell them, or in a 350 oven for five minutes. Or you can skip them.

In a large saute pan on medium-high heat, crumble and brown the Italian sausage, and add the prosciutto when it's about halfway done. Cook until the sausage is cooked through and the prosciutto is starting to get crispy. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Add the olive oil to the pan, then the eggplant, then some salt and pepper. Saute for roughly 5-6 minutes, then add the garlic and the red pepper flakes. Saute for another minute or two (careful not to burn the garlic), then add the tomatoes, and some more salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the sauce until all the extra liquid is gone, 6-10 minutes. Add the meat back to the sauce and remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 egg, the parmesan, pine nuts, parsley, basil, and some salt and pepper. Gently add this mixture to the sauce.

On a sheet of parchment paper, roll out your pizza dough and make sure the rectangle is fairly even. Sprinkle the rosemary and oregano over the dough, then add the sauce mixture to half of it. Fold the dough over and roll the edges closed. Beat the remaining egg with a tablespoon of water, then brush that onto the outside of the calzone.

Move the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and bake at 500 for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Let rest for at least five minutes before cutting into it.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

FOUND IT: I saw Claire Robinson make it on Food Network.
MODIFIED IT: To simplify and adjust a bit.

This recipe looked great when I saw it the first time, but it took me a couple of attempts to really get it right. This version of the recipe includes modifications I made to simplify and improve.

  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped*
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces italian sausage
  • salt and pepper
  • a splash of whiskey
  • 1/2 cup cornbread, dried and crumbled**
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
* - Roughly chopping something that's going to go into a food processor is one of my recipe pet peeves. However, it is important here that the chunks of onion, garlic and mushrooms going into your food processor are roughly the same size.

** - I didn't have cornbread on hand for either attempt. I used a couple of stale biscuits for the first attempt, and cubed sourdough bread the second time. Both worked out well.
In a large pan, crumble and brown your Italian sausage over medium-high heat. While it's cooking, pulse the onion, garlic and mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped (Do not make them into a paste, like I did the first time). Once the sausage is cooked through, add the onion, garlic and mushroom mixture, salt and pepper and saute until the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.

Once all the liquid has evaporated, remove the mixture to a medium bowl. Reduce the heat and add your whiskey to the pan, scraping with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cornbread and parsley. Once the cornbread has soaked up all the whiskey, add it to the sausage mixture.

Slice your pork tenderloin the long way, but not all the way through. Open it up and pound it into a thin, flat surface, roughly 1/2 inch or less thick and 6-8 inches wide. Salt and pepper the tenderloin, then paint the upward-facing side with Dijon mustard. Add the stuffing mixture on top of the mustard (you may have some extra). Then, roll the tenderloin and secure the roll, using either kitchen string or toothpicks (three toothpicks is usually enough). Drizzle some olive oil on the roll and sear it on the grill, roughly 5 minutes on each of four sides. After that, remove it to indirect heat, close the grill lid and let it cook 10 more minutes.

Use a meat thermometer to check when it's done (you're looking for 145-150), but be careful when doing so: The stuffing inside will be warmer than the meat, so if your thermometer is in the stuffing it'll read as done too early.

Once it reaches the desired temperature, remove from the grill and allow it to cool for at least five minutes before serving. Serve by slicing into medallions.