Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Eggplant burger with zucchini and fries

Summer weekends at my house are all about grilling and this holiday weekend was no exception.  My father made three different types of steaks and three different types of chicken to feed the guests that we had over.  He cooks so that there are always leftovers and one time grilling fed us for the rest of the weekend.  That is not to say that there weren't other things on the menu like grilled asparagus, corn, pineapple, and different salads, but meat was the main course.

Now after a meat overload, I think that I am going to stick to vegetables for the rest of the week to balance out my diet.  I had seen a Food Network show last week that mentioned a restaurant serving an eggplant burger and it had caught my attention.

I must admit that I have never ever tried a veggie burger before.  I know that there are a lot of people out there who enjoy them but some how the idea of a vegetable burger never appealed to me.  The eggplant burger on the other hand sounded like an exciting to alternative.  Sometimes when surrounded by some much grilled meat at BBQs I forget that there are other options out there for the people who do not eat meat or who may want a lighter meal that day.  So I attempted to create an eggplant burger that could be a substitute for any vegetarians who attend my father's grilling extravaganza and I am very happy with the result.  The burger is nice and juicy and combined with the cheese and the spices, it softer and more flavorful than a hamburger.

Eggplant Burger 

Makes 4 medium sized patties

2 small or 1.5 medium eggplants, cut into small cubes
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
1/4 cup of freshly chopped parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Cooking oil

Slices of your favorite cheese
Hamburger buns 

1. Put the eggplant into a large pan filled with 1/4 cup of water.  Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.  (I use water to soften the eggplant to avoid using a lot of oil).  When the water is almost gone add some oil so that the eggplant doesn't get stuck to the pan.  Cook for about 15 minutes.

2.  Add the garlic and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the eggplant has shrunk and is soft.

3.  Pour the eggplant onto a large cutting board and chop the eggplant until it becomes close to a puree.

4.  In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, bread crumbs, and spices.  Separate the mixture into 4 even portions and shape into a medium sized pattie.

5.  Fry in vegetable oil in a large pan for a few minutes on each side until it browns.

6. Serve on a toasted bun, with melted cheese.

Baked Zucchini strips

Makes 4 servings

2-3 Zucchinis, cut into 1/4 inch thick strips
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup eggplant
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.  Line a baking tray with aluminum foil.

2. Toss the zucchini strips with olive oil and spread them evenly over the tray. 

3. Cook for about 10 minutes.

4. Mix the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl and set aside.

5. Take the tray out of the oven, turn the zucchini over, and then sprinkle the bread crumb and cheese mixture over them.

6. Bake for another 5 minutes, until the cheese melts and serve warm.

Baked French Fries
Makes 4 servings

3 potatoes, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.  Line a baking tray with aluminum foil.

2. Toss the potato strips in a medium bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and then spread them evenly on the baking tray.

3. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the potatoes become soft and the edges are browned.  Check on the potatoes at least twice to toss them in the pan.  More oil should be added if they get stuck to the foil.

Serve warm.

Do you have any vegetarian favorites for the summer months?


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