Simple Elegance: Herbed Roulade

It may be evident that I’m a big proponent of eggs as a source of high-quality protein.  Eggs have versatility enough to be the center of the plate for breakfast, a luncheon or a stylish dinner.

An herbed roulade is an easy dinner entrée.  It would seem a complicated preparation; however, the technique is actually quite simple.  The recipe I decided to work with called for a grilled radicchio and pancetta filling with a bechamel sauce, which required more time than I wanted to spend preparing a light dinner for myself.  I preferred a more vegetable-oriented filling without sauce accompaniment.

The preparation is like making a jelly roll.  I separated 6 eggs, added 1/2 tsp salt plus 1/2 C unbleached flour to the yolks and mixed well in a heavy-duty mixer.  When I had a smooth paste, I added a 7th whole egg and blended until I had a uniform consistency.  I transferred the mixture to a bowl, washed and dried the mixing bowl thoroughly, then beat the 6 egg whites until they formed stiff peaks.  [Using very fresh farm eggs benefits both the egg yolk mixture and the volume and stability of the whipped egg whites.]

Using a large whisk, stir in 1/4 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.  Then fold the remaining whites into the lightened yolks.  Gently stir in 1/4 C chopped fresh sage and either 1 tsp dried thyme or 1 Tbsp fresh thyme.

Line a 13×9 jelly roll pan with either parchment paper or waxed paper; do not butter.  Spread the filling evenly into the pan ensuring the batter touches all sides of the pan.  Bake in a 375 degree oven until golden but not crisp, perhaps as long as 10-12 minutes.  [Whenever I have such instructions I bake for 2-3 minutes less, then add a minute or two to get the right consistency.  In this case with my oven, 8+ minutes worked beautifully.]

Remove the roulade and let it cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes.  [Again, I let it cool about 6 minutes until it was just barely warm to the touch.]  I ran a sharp knife around the edge, then transferred the roulade to a sheet of aluminum foil with edges 1-2″ larger than the roulade.  Simply wrap the roulade lengthwise using the foil, and allow to cool.

I thin-sliced 2 peeled carrots, 2 stalks of celery and 2 large leaves of kale.  I sautéed them in olive oil, then added a bit of water to ensure the vegetables were tender.

Simply unwrap the roulade and spread 1/2 the filling along the inside of the wrapped roll and sprinkle with shredded cheese.  I chose a Toscano Pecorino, a milder version in the Pecorino family.  You choose the cheese; you choose the vegetables.  Using the foil for support, begin rewrapping the roulade, stopping midway to add the remaining vegetables and additional cheese.

The roulade can be served immediately.  If you prefer that it be piping hot, place it in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.  Serve with what ever garnish or accompaniment you wish.

Do you see the endless variety in this dish?  Select meat or non-meat fillings.  Vary the herbs.  Prep a sauce to accompany the dish such as the tomato sauce we made in a recent post, or not.

Simple creativity.  Delectable results.

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