It's eggplant season and I've been getting my fair share in my CSA from Stillman's Farm. I made a dish that I first saw while pinning that I truly believe should be on every Italian Restaurants appetizer menu. It was THAT good.
I'm always looking to make and create dinners that steer away from the norm. When I saw these Eggplant "Sandwiches," from Real Simple they got put on my MUST-MAKE-NOW List. And they were so simple! REAL Simple in fact : )
I mean really... how good do these look? Lightly battered and fried eggplant as the "sandwich bread" with yellow and red heirloom tomatoes, basil, arugula, goat cheese and fresh mozzarella. You really can't go wrong. And I guess you could bake them to make them healthier, but thats no fun, right?
1/2 cup of flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of panko
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch rounds (8)
1/2 cup of canola oil
1 cup of arugula (fresh from your CSA!)
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup of basil
2 ounces of mozzarella cheese sliced
2 ounces of herb goat cheese, sliced
Place the flour, eggs and panko in separate bowls or small plate. Dip the eggplant slices in the flour, then eggs and then breadcrumbs. Try to make sure the panko adheres to the eggplant. Heat half the oil in a non stick pan over medium heat.
(Curious about how to figure out if the oil is hot enough? Use this little trick I learned from all my years watching Rachel Ray- use the end of your wooden spoon and if you see little bubble forming around it, its hot enough so throw down your eggplant!)
Cook half the eggplant until golden brown and crispy, about 2-4 minutes on each side. Then transfer to a paper towel lined place. Wipe out the skillet and repeat process with oil and eggplant. Then form your "sandwiches." Place one piece of eggplant, arugula, 1 or 2 tomato slices, slices of mozzarella cheese, basil, and goat cheese. Then place another piece of eggplant on top of the stack.
I loved these! The eggplant softened enough that it really was just like eating a sandwich : ) I even used my hands (hey I was at home : )
Two of these guys were really filling. Somedays I really think I could be vegetarian. Somedays...
Also while pinning, I came across this amazing recipe for Baked Eggplant Burgers. I was led to a site called The Tolerant Vegan. Nikki writes about being vegan but also being human and not beating herself up when she thinks about or craves a piece of cake or cheese. I love her recipes and in the short time I've been reading, I've already made two of her recipes! (I just ate the broccoli burgers for lunch).
But back to the eggplant burgers. I changed up a few things but the idea is still the same- roasted eggplant blended together with beans and other vegetables (& Hummus!) and then you bake the hell out of it until it forms into a burger. MMmm... Another great way to use up the insane amount of eggplant I've been getting from my CSA in a non-traditional way.Nikki's blog- you will love it!
Baked Eggplant Burgers
Adapted from The Tolerant Vegan
1 medium sized eggplant, or 3 japanese eggplants
1 can of cannellini beans
2 green onions
1/2 green pepper
1/4 cup of arugula
1 tablespoon of pine nuts
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt, cumin, dash of creole seasoning
1/2 cup of your favorite hummus (I used garlic flavored and omitted the garlic above), plus more for serving
1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
Roast eggplant by cutting the pieces into circles and brushing it with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes on each side. Once eggplant is done roasting, turn down the oven to 400 degrees. Place eggplant, onions, beans, pepper, arugula, salt, cumin and creole seasoning with hummus into the food processor and pulse for 15-30 seconds. Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in the panko. Using your hands, form the burgers into 6 patties or however many your mixture makes. (They will be SUPER sticky!) Place on either a foil lined baking pan or use a silicon sheet and bake for 45 minutes, turning them over halfway through.
So what do you think? Did I intrigue you to try something fun like this with eggplant?