Eggplant Involtini

IMG_2845A friend from church recently  brought me some vegetables from his garden which included several lovely Japanese eggplants so I made these rollups.  The time spent in preparation was well worth the finished dish!

Eggplant Involtini

3 Tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing on parchment to line the baking sheet

2 medium Japanese eggplant, ends trimmed and thinly sliced lengthwise

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 28 ounce  can diced tomatoes, with liquid mostly drained and reserved for other use

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

10-12 slices of thin sliced deli ham

10-12 slices whole milk mozzarella (I use the ready sliced logs of mozzarella, not sandwich slices)

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the slices of eggplant on the parchment paper, brushing both sides with 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with oregano, salt, and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, turning once. This will make eggplant slices soft and easy to roll.

While eggplant is in the oven, saute onion for 3 minutes in the remaining olive oil. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add drained tomatoes then saute for 2 or 3 minutes.

When eggplant has baked, remove from oven and lower the oven temperature to 350.  On each eggplant slice, place a slice of ham and a slice of mozzarella. Roll the pieces from the small end forward and secure the bundle with a toothpick.

Put about a cup of the tomato sauce in  the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish, then arrange involtini in dish, seam side down.  Over each bundle, spread some of the tomato mixture, then sprinkle shredded mozzarella over all. Place in oven to warm for 15 minutes before serving.

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