These were a bit time consuming, but the end result is both beautiful and delicious! Also, as always I’m sure it would take less time the second time around. A few tips for next time:
1. Cutting the eggplant into strips: this recipe is pretty forgiving. Some of my strips were a little wonky and misshapened, but they still roasted and rolled up beautifully. That being said, cut them a little thicker next time, as they get pretty soft and easy to roll in the oven.
2. Breadcrumbs: Skip them if they’re not fresh. The filling should turn out fine, not worth putting them in if they don’t add any flavor.
3. Baking pan space! I used every single baking dish in my home to fit all of the eggplant. Cutting the strips a little more thickly (see 1) and using the whole large cookie sheet plus my half sheet pan should hopefully work next time. I was worried that the eggplant juices would drip off the sides of the large cookie sheet without sides, but I don’t think this is much of a concern. Just don’t put the eggplant right up against the sides.
ALSO if you do end up having overflow to any nonstick baking dishes, make sure to grease them first. The eggplant got stuck to these guys and was difficult to pry off.
4. As usual in the winter, I didn’t have fresh basil, so I didn’t use it. I substituted dried thyme for the oregano and it turned out great.
5. The sauce turned out too acidic for my taste. Apparently adding baking soda a little bit at a time (1 tsp) can help cut the acidity (it’s science). It may up the salt content a bit so maybe hold off on the final salting until after adding the baking soda. Also, though slightly contradictory re acidity, I’d add a splash of wine at the very beginning of cooking to add a bit more depth of flavor. Adding at the beginning and just a touch should be fine.
6. I left the whole shebang in my cast iron skillet for over an hour and the skillet didn’t get damaged, despite the acidic tomato sauce.