Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan Burgers


Eggplant can be such a divisive vegetable.  People either love it or hate it.  I love it, Joey... strongly dislikes it.  In the past, it's kind of a point of contention in our marriage (see also:  brussels sprouts).  Luckily, we've come to an unspoken agreement.  I don't make it very often, and he's a good sport and will always try it.

So here's a little secret to converting eggplant haters to lovers:  turn it into a burger, smother it with cheese and marinara sauce, then sandwich it in a garlic bread bun.  I dare you not to love this.

For the record, Joey really liked these burgers, and the twins couldn't get enough.  And as expected, Caroline loved them and Smith wouldn't try a single bite.

I just love eggplant in pretty much all incarnations, but I especially love giving foods the eggplant parm treatment.  What a great way to combine my love of burgers with my love of eggplant!  So what's next... eggplant parm mac and cheese, anyone?

Eggplant Parmesan Burgers
adapted from Eats Well with Others
makes 4 burgers

  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs eggplant (1 large or 2 smaller eggplants)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4  cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh basil, plus more for serving
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • about 1/4 cup marinara sauce
  • mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 4 hamburger buns, sliced in half
  • 1 Tbs butter, softened
  • garlic powder
Preheat the broiler and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.

Peel the eggplant, then slice into 1/2-inch rounds.  Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, then brush with 1 tablespoon of the oil, being sure to flip the eggplant rounds and oil both sides.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven and watching closely, broil the eggplant, turning once, until golden-brown, about 7 to 10 minutes.  Watch it very closely though, as broilers do vary quite a bit, and your eggplant can go from golden-brown to charred very quickly.

Remove from the oven.

Allow the eggplant to cool slightly, roughly chop, then transfer to a food processor.  Add the panko, Parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and the egg.  Pulse several times, until the mixture is evenly mixed.

Form the mixture into four patties.  Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to several hours.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and heat an (oven safe) nonstick skillet with 3 tablespoons of oil over medium  heat.  Carefully transfer the eggplant patties to the pan, and cook 2 minutes, per side, flipping them very gently.  Top each burger with about 1 tablespoon of marinara sauce and a slice of mozzarella, then transfer the skillet to the oven.

Bake until the cheese is melted and the marinara is heated through, 3-4 minutes.  Sprinkle with freshly chopped basil.

Meanwhile, spread the butter on the cut-side of the buns, and sprinkle with garlic powder.  Arrange them in a single layer, cut side-up, on a baking sheet.  When the burgers are finished cooking, transfer the buns to the oven and toast until the butter is melted and the bread is lightly toasted.

Serve the eggplant burgers on toasted burger buns.


Josie said...

I'm so glad you guys liked these!!! They won over my eggplant hater also. Total WIN.

Josie said...

I looooove eggplant, and it took a super long time to get my man over the fact that yes, he was eating eggplant and yes, it was going to be OK! These look great!

Josie said...

Yum! Do you think the burgers would reheat well? I love eggplant, but since I'm a texture person, I'm a little squeamish when it turns mushy and/or... seed-y.

Josie said...

I'm with you, Josie! I love eggplant too. These look wonderful!

Josie said...

I love eggplant and my husband does not, but I think I could make these for lunch and enjoy them, a lot! Thanks for sharing!

Josie said...

We've been making these with black beans, which is so, so good, but I know I need to make a bacon or chorizo version for Eric soon.

Josie said...

Yes, they were awesome over a salad for lunch! Try to get your H to try them though - they are so so good!

Josie said...

Hi Gwen, Yes, they reheated fine... I believe I used the microwave because I was in a hurry, but reheating in the oven would definitely help keep them crispy on the outside. Otherwise, I see no reason why you couldn't just prep the patties, keep them in the fridge or freezer, then cook them as you need! Hope you enjoy!

Josie said...

OMG I love Eggplant. I ate a whole one---well it was small---just the other night. This is a much fancier way to have it. Laughing

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