Eggplant Veggie Burgers with Swiss Cheese and Shallot Jam

I like veggie burgers. I am not a vegetarian. I like meat and cheese and hot dogs. I know cheese is not a meat. What I really like is steak. And super delicious burgers. Flame broiled burgers, squishy sacks of roadside burgers, juicy and decadent double down burgers. Lamb burgers! I am good with all the burgers. Even having read what Moby says about the amount of water required to raise beef. I feel bad, guilty, like a citizen without a global conscience. But we can’t all be Moby. I also like hot dogs. Hot dogs from Wasse’s. Hot dogs at the ballpark and barbeques and on the street in New York. Corn dogs from Umami burger. Corn – muthereffen – Dogs. But when I eat at home I mostly don’t want to cook meat. I’d rather enjoy the really good stuff or the lowbrow stuff cooked by a true expert or in a fun context.

Eggplant Veggie Burgers

Sometimes what I want from a burger is melty cheese and toothsome bread. Some kind of condiment. Pickles and tots. Forever tots. A side salad is pleasant. So are French fries smothered in short ribs or chili or cheese or gravy and curds. But tots really take you back to the cafeteria, no? The burger is a vehicle. And while veggie is a lesser vehicle it also has value and validity. They can be great and they can be terrible. There are as many veggie burger recipes as there are cows in India. I did a lot of research and went with a combination of a few recipes I found. Simple. Few ingredients and minimal prep. I like eggplant. Bread seemed like an easier filler than, say, oats or brown rice, though obviously not as nutritionally dense. And as long as you extract every ounce of moisture from the eggplant, the patty has a lovely texture. Make sure to cook it hot and flip only once. Use olive oil.

The real hero here is the shallot jam. This stuff is the business. Make extra and slather it on everybody. I mean everything.

Eggplant Veggie Burgers

Eggplant Veggie Burgers with Swiss Cheese and Shallot Jam
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the veggie burgers:
  • 3 large eggplants, peeled
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chives
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Black pepper
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 4 slices of Swiss cheese
  • 4 ciabatta rolls
  • Arugula
For the shallot jam:
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Method
For the veggie burgers:
  1. Cube the peeled eggplant. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the eggplant, 10 minutes. Drain and cool in a colander. Use a kitchen towel to squeeze out all the moisture from the cooled eggplant. In a large mixing bowl combine eggplant, bread crumbs, cheese, chives, egg, salt and pepper. Form into four patties. Pour a little oil on a hot griddle and cook over high heat, flipping once, 3 minutes a side. Add the cheese to each burger, cover with a pot lid and let the cheese melt. Spoon the shallot jam on top, add arugula and serve on ciabatta rolls.
For the shallot jam:
  1. In a sauté pan over high heat, heat the olive oil, then add shallots. Cook 2-3 minutes. Pour in cider, honey, mustard, and soy sauce; stir. Bring the sauce to a boil then reduce until it thickens and becomes jammy, stirring frequently.
 

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road. She creates content on the internet, on subjects ranging from summer camps to semi-precious stones to the folklore of food. With Malcolm, Jillian was one of the original “Insiders,” for the Visit Maine tourism campaign. She loves telling the stories of her adopted state, finding out-of-the-way places, and people making interesting things. Watching her daughters play in the wild woods and fields of Cushing makes her very happy.

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