Grilled Eggplant Roll-Ups

I counted today and discovered that I have 43 recipes with photos to post. I also have 7 that I can't seem to find recipes for. I really want to get caught-up from this backlog of recipes. It feels like a burden that I want to wash off. Sorta like a sink-full of old, dirty dishes.  Who knows, I might have to start cranking out two-a-day. I also started concepting for the next version of Chef-Fresco's website and logo last night and hope to do some more over the weekend. There are a lot of things I would like to incorporate into the new site. I would like to know from readers what you use most to discover new recipes  What sites do you use to find new recipes (i.e. Punchfork, Foodgawker, FoodPorn, etc.)? Or do you follow a blog's RSS feeds, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter accounts and just wait for a dish that tickles your fancy. While I do not have the time to infiltrate all of these networks I would like to focus on a few and try excel at them.

Anyways, we found these guys browsing FoodGawker the other day (actually it may have been back in August of last year, but practically the other day). These roll-ups are pretty tasty and not too difficult to throw together when you have two people helping out (don't be scared of the lengthy directions). The potato/beef filling with cinnamon and allspice seasoning makes for a unusually good combo—sorta reminds me of an Indian dish. Make it a meal with a side salad and some toasted bread with an olive oil dipping sauce. Jessi thought the sauce was a little different, but I, Michael, thought it was delicious. One assembly note is to be mindful of how long you grill your eggplants slices; too much and the rolls will fall apart, and too little and they won't roll a-tall. Recipe modified from the cozy apron blog. Serves 4-6. One last note. The word "bechamel" is really fun to say.

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 pound lean ground beef 
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and diced into small, ½” cubes 
  • ½ teaspoon, plus a pinch, salt (plus extra for eggplant slices) 
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano 
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper (plus extra for eggplant slices) 
  • ¼ teaspoon, plus a pinch, ground cinnamon 
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained 
  • 6 tablespoons Romano-parm cheese mixture, divided (I use TJ's shredded cheese mixture)
  • 2 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, divided 
  • 2 large eggplants (look for ones longer in shape rather than round), sliced lengthwise into 12, ¼”- ½” thick slices (you should get about 6 long slices from each eggplant)

  1. Put 2 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until lightly golden, for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add ground beef and stir, allowing to the meat to cook through a little, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Stir in diced potato, ½ teaspoon plus a pinch of salt, dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon plus a pinch of ground cinnamon and allspice.
  4. Add garlic and diced tomatoes, stir to incorporate. Reduce the heat to low; cover and allow filling to cook until the potatoes are tender and the filling is slightly thickened, about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once potatoes are tender, turn heat off and add 2 tablespoons of the Romano cheese, Panko breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of the chopped flat-leaf parsley and ½ teaspoon of the lemon zest; stir to combine. Cover, and keep warm while you grill the eggplant.
  6. Prepare a grill to high heat. Drizzle about 4 tablespoons worth of olive oil, total, over both sides of the eggplant slices, and season them with generous pinches of the salt and pepper. *you can also do this in a grill pan if you prefer.
  7. Grill the eggplant slices for about 5 minutes per side, or until tender and golden-brown. Allow them to cool slightly, just so that they can be handled.
  8. To Assemble and Serve: preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Take one grilled eggplant slice with the wider portion of the slice closest to you, and spoon about 3 generous tablespoons worth of the spiced beef filling onto the slice, wrap the eggplant around the filling and roll, being careful not to rip the eggplant. Place it seam-side down on baking sheet, and repeat the process with the remaining eggplant slices. 
  9. Place baking sheet in oven and heat roll-ups for about 10 minutes. 
  10. Meanwhile, prepare the Béchamel sauce (see below).
  11. While eggplant roll-ups warm in the oven, prepare a light topping by combining the remaining 4 tablespoons of Romano cheese with remaining 1 tablespoon of chopped flat-leaf parsley and ½ teaspoon lemon zest.
  12. To serve, place 3 eggplant roll-ups onto each plate, drizzle about ¼ -½ cup of the Romano Béchamel Sauce over the roll-ups, and sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the Romano-parsley-zest topping over as garnish. 


  • 2 cups 2% milk 
  • 2 tbsp butter 
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, plus a pinch 
  • Pinch nutmeg 
  • Pinch white pepper 
  • 1 cup grated Romano-parm cheese mixture 
  1. In a small pot, bring the milk to a simmer over medium-low heat (meanwhile proceed with step 2). Once the milk is hot, turn off the heat.
  2. While the milk heats, set a medium sized pot over medium-low heat and add butter. Once butter has melted, add the flour and stir to combine, creating a “roux” or thickener for your milk sauce.
  3. Cook the roux very gently for about 1-2 minutes, then slowly add the hot milk, whisking the whole time to avoid lumps from forming. 
  4. Once all milk is added and the mixture has been well whisked and smooth, allow to very gently simmer for about 2-3 minutes to thicken completely. 
  5. Turn off the heat and add salt, nutmeg, white pepper and cheese. Whisk well to completely blend in and make silky smooth. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.


Unknown said...

these look fantastic!!

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