Thursday, August 25, 2011

Eggplant Love

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?

Eggplant "Sandwiches"
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
salt, pepper
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.
This made about 6 burgers for me and the depth of flavor in these burgers was so impressive.  I was certain they were going to be mushy but that couldn't be further from the truth. So if you have lots of eggplant laying around and you're looking to do something different and fun with them, make these burgers... and check out 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 when these burgers were finished- they were so TASTY!  I loved every bite!  And since most of you know that I like to make dinner within 30 minutes, I used my prep ahead method to get these on the table fast.  Meaning, I cooked them while we were eating the dinner above.  Then I just reheated in the toaster the next night and served them with hummus, tomatoes and a salad with heirloom tomatoes, arugula, basil, and mozzarella cheese!
So what do you think?  Did I intrigue you to try something fun like this with eggplant?


  1. I am brand new to eggplant, but this looks yum!

  2. The eggplant sandwiches are such a cute idea!! I think if you ever decide to change careers, a culinary job is totally in the cards for you! I am always amazed how you can put together such thoughtful meals while being so busy. I am definitely intrigued by both of these recipes because I mess up eggplant a lot - either it comes out bitter or the texture bothers me. You've made me want to try again!

  3. You're the best! Ha. I keep forgetting that I bought a bag of mini eggplants, and I need to do something with them! I might be able to do little sliders based on your eggplant sandwich recipe.

  4. Your blog inspires me to learn how to cook things besides scrambled eggs, sauteed pasta, and pasta!

  5. I love eggplant stacks. A bit of basil and tomato with mozzarella is the perfect way to enjoy them. Add balsamic and I'm in heaven!

  6. Those sandwiches are awesome!!! They look so cute. I'm a huge eggplant lover. I also want to eat that heirloom tomato and mozzarella salad right off of the screen. Btw, I totally knew your husband was a Dave from your blog, but quite honestly, I don't know if I ever put it together that you were a Dave and Elizabeth/Lizzy. Don't mind me :P

  7. what beautiful ways to showcase the eggplant. I really want to make those sliders!

  8. I totally just bookmarked those eggplant burgers. I'm also totally making them this week!

  9. I've been reading your blog for a little while and I just tried making those eggplant burgers. AMAZING. I'm on a gluten free diet and used gluten free bread crumbs and they came out amazing!

  10. yum! I love burgers.. and this totally opened up a whole new door for me :) thanks!

  11. OMG, those eggplant sandwiches look awesome!! I just ate a tomato, basil, mozz sandwich for dinner tonight on crusty french bread. But I think I could get over the bread and try the fried eggplant. They look like something I would LOVE.

  12. Oh, these look fabulous - I love eggplant and the fact that you ate them with your hands :)

  13. This makes me pray that I'll have eggplant and tomatoes in my CSA share this week--hoping!

  14. You may not be my friend anymore after I admit this, but I have never tried eggplant. I don't know why! But I'm really curious about those burgers. Usually I'll try anything in burger form, and those look great :)

  15. drooling over those eggplant sandwiches! yum!

  16. These look amazing!! I love eggplant but have never cooked with it myself, I'll definitely be giving your recipes a shot.

  17. Sometimes you think you could be a vegetarian... until you remember your love for short ribs ;)
    Both of these look amazing. Adam doesn't like eggplant so I'm usually on my own there. Living with boys is so frustrating sometimes!

  18. PS - I forgot to mention - I'm hosting a giveaway today only, so check out Healthy and Sane when you get a chance. Some really great stuff there!

  19. ooh my, both of those looks great. i can't decide which i should make first, actually... the hummus is a fabulous addition to those burgers!

  20. I love how both of these look!! I definitely need to try both recipes...especially the burgers. They're so unique sounding.

    And you're a more creative vegetarian than I am! I know you love your meat, but I bet you'd be able to go without it (maybe?) :)