You know how your tastes change as you become older? Eggplant was one of those things I hated as a child. It always felt too mushy and had a really bad flavor. Even though my mother was an exceptional cook, there wasn't anything she could do to make eggplant pleasing to my underdeveloped palate.
However, now I adore eggplant. It's got a lovely flavor, and provided you don't overcook it, it has a lovely texture. This is by far one of my favorite appetizers. The smokiness of the mozzarella combined with the fresh tomato and pesto is quite delicious. This is a great appetizer as it can be assembled ahead of time and then reheated when needed.
Smoked Mozzarella Eggplant Rolls
1 large eggplant
8 slices smoked mozzarella
2 plum tomatoes, cut into 8 thick slices
3 tbsp pesto
Balsamic vinegar and olive oil for drizzling (optional)
Cut eggplant into 10 thin slices, discarding 2 outside pieces. Sprinkle with salt on both sides and set aside. Allow to rest for 20 minutes, then rinse well under cold water to remove salt. Pat dry with paper towels. Heat grill or grill pan on medium high heat. Spray liberally with oil. Grill eggplant slices for 8-10 minutes, flipping once. Remove from heat. Place a slice of mozzarella in the center of each slice. Top with a small dollop of pesto, then place tomato on top. Fold the eggplant over the filling, and place seam side down back on grill(pan). Heat until cheese begins to melt. Serve with drizzled balsamic vinegar and oil if desired, or serve with marinara sauce.