Summer dinner; light, seasonal and do-ahead

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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Light, in season and make-ahead - it's the trifecta for the perfect summer supper.

For this easy-to-prepare dish, thin slices of eggplant are baked until tender, then fashioned into rolls stuffed with delicately spiced couscous and tangy feta cheese.

The rolls can be prepared up to two days in advance, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated.

When ready to serve, remove the plastic, drizzle with marinara sauce and bake until heated through.

Light, in season and make-ahead - it's the trifecta for the perfect summer supper.

For this easy-to-prepare dish, thin slices of eggplant are baked until tender, then fashioned into rolls stuffed with delicately spiced couscous and tangy feta cheese.

The rolls can be prepared up to two days in advance, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated.

When ready to serve, remove the plastic, drizzle with marinara sauce and bake until heated through.

Orange-Scented Eggplant

and Couscous Rolls

Start to finish: 1 hour 10 minutes (30 minutes active)

1 large eggplant (about 500 g/1 lb)

45 ml (3 tbsp.) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 oranges

2 ml (1/2 tsp.) cinnamon

1 ml (1/4 tsp.) ground cardamom

15 ml (1 tbsp.) apple cider vinegar

250 ml (1 cup) water

175 ml (3/4 cup) couscous

500 ml (2 cups) crumbled feta cheese, divided

60 ml (4 tbsp.) chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided

Ground black pepper, to taste

250 ml (1 cup) prepared marinara sauce

Heat oven to 220 C (425 F). Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. You may need 2 baking sheets.

Trim both ends of the eggplant. Standing the eggplant on end, slice it lengthwise into slices 0.75 cm (1/3 inch) thick. Discard the end slices of skin.

Arrange slices on prepared baking sheets and brush with 30 ml (2 tbsp) of the olive oil. Bake until lightly browned on the undersides, about 10 minutes. Turn slices and continue baking until second sides are lightly browned and flesh is tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, to make filling, grate zest of half an orange, then juice both oranges. Transfer zest and juice to a medium saucepan. Add cinnamon, cardamom, apple cider vinegar, remaining 15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil and water. Bring to a boil. Stir in couscous and remove pan from heat. Cover and let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Uncover couscous and fluff with a fork, then let cool. Stir in 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) of the feta and 45 ml (3 tbsp.) of the parsley. Season with pepper.

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