Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Grilled Marinated Eggplant Burgers (Spicy)

One of my favorite summer burgers is made with grilled marinated eggplant instead of meat.  I use a technique I learned from my twitter friend Judy Witts Francini a.k.a Davina Cucina...salting the sliced eggplant to remove the bitterness and avoid soaking up a ton of oil. Then you simply grill and marinate in a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and black pepper. When you are ready to make the sandwiches you will use the delicious, flavorful oil to brush on the bread prior to grilling. Imagine golden brown toasted bread, garlicky spicy eggplant, melted cheese and fresh basil.... amazingly good and easy to make.  

You will serve this dish all summer! It is the perfect choice when you want something a bit different from burgers or want to add a vegetarian option to the menu.

Grilled Marinated Eggplant Burgers
makes 8 burgers
(note, grilling times are approx. depending on how hot your coals are...experiment the first time keeping careful watch to see how long it takes you)

1 globe eggplant
sea salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1-2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
fresh cracked pepper
sourdough or french boule or loaf
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
fresh basil
(optional, fresh heirloom tomatoes in season)

Cut eggplant into slices approx 1 inch thick.  Place in a large colander and sprinkle generously with sea salt.  Let sit for 1-2 hours.  
Prepare grill.  I prefer wood charcoal for this recipe, but a gas grill works well also. ( alternatively, you can use a grill pan indoors.)

Use a towel to blot off all the liquid which accumulates on the eggplant (it is very bitter).  Brush slices with olive oil to prevent burning and grill approx 4 minutes per side.  Remove from grill and layer in a baking pan.  Cover eggplant with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, crushed red pepper (i use 2 teaspoons, but go with one if you want it less spicy), garlic and cracked black pepper.  Allow to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour...but longer if possible...up to 4 hours.

Cut bread into slices approx 1 inch thick.  Create sandwiches by layering a couple slices of eggplant and 1 slice mozzarella cheese between two slices of bread.  Brush some of the olive oil from the eggplant dish onto the outside of both sides of each sandwich.  Grill 3-4 minutes per side, just until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has begun to melt. Remove from grill, carefully remove the top piece of bread (sandwiches will be hot) and add some fresh basil and a slice of tomato if using.  Replace the bread slice and serve immediately.

It is "Burgers" week at Food Network's
 #SummerSoiree roundup. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Do you have a favorite burger recipe? Please share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one.
Dishin & DishesGrill Basket Stuffed Slider Burgers
WeeliciousMexican Chicken Sliders
Devour5 Sizzling Burgers
Virtually HomemadeGrilled Greek Turkey Burger
Napa Farmhouse 1885Green Chile and Bacon Burgers
Red or GreenGrilled Marinated Eggplant Burgers (Spicy)
The Heritage CookJuicy Turkey Burgers for Every Cookout
Taste With The EyesChicken Burger Caesar Club Sandwich
Cooking With EliseSuper Smashed Burgers
Domesticate MeBacon and Smoked Cheddar Cheeseburger Sliders with Jalapeno Relish
Swing EatsShrimp Burgers with Sriracha Aioli on Bibb Lettuce
Daily*DishinJalapeno Feta Bison Burgers
FN Dish5 Ways to Bring on the Burgers


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