Back in 2010, my Mom turned Rachael Ray’s subs into burgers, so this meal was inspired by her. I've worked really hard to season my cast iron grill pan over the past few months and, with a few successful burger attempts (think Chili Lime Chicken and Chicken Parm burgers), I finally got around to trying this adaptation on Monday evening. As Rachael Ray would probably say – "Yum-o!" Not only were the burgers delicious, but they were also incredibly simple. If you don’t have tomatoes on hand, or if you feel like saving more time, you can substitute the tomato mixture for store-bought bruschetta. I've doubled the tomato mixture ingredients below because KK and I used the original amount for just two burgers. To reheat the leftovers, I recommend using a toaster oven to avoid soggy eggplant.
Grilled Eggplant alla Norma Burgers
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Time: 30 minutes
1 medium eggplant
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
4 plum tomatoes, lightly seeded and chopped
Fresh basil (10 leaves), torn into small bits
2 cloves garlic, minced
Hamburger buns, toasted
Margarine, for spreading
1. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill over medium-high heat.
2. Slice the eggplant into 8 ½-inch “burgers."
3. Pour olive oil into a bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the eggplant burgers on both sides with the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook the eggplant burgers for 3-4 minutes per side, until tender. While still warm, top eggplant burgers with cheese.
4. Using the same bowl, still with some remaining olive oil, combine tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then toss to combine.
5. Spread hamburger buns with margarine, and sprinkle with garlic salt. Toast.
6. Layer 2 slices of eggplant with lots of raw tomato mixture into each burger roll.