Uncle Bobby’s Awesome Sausage Burgers and Marinated Eggplant Salad

by Sarah on August 17, 2009

So, there’s been a few requests for things to do with eggplant. One of the requests was that it be “healthy”, which means no breading or frying. Bummer. I kid, I kid. When we have eggplant in the garden, I grill it all the time. It’s good with a little olive oil, balsalmic and salt and pepper. Here’s a salad with similar flavors.

Isn’t this little baby eggplant the cutest thing?

First thing’s first. Either grow some eggplant, score some from a co-worker who has too many, or go to the farmer’s market. This recipe works best with the skinny Japanese eggplant.

Slice them on the bias, about 1/2 inch thick.

Toss them in a small amount of olive oil and pop them onto a hot grill, or alternatively, onto a sheet pan and under a hot broiler.

They should cook until they have some give, but not until they are mushy. Approximately 5-6 minutes each side.

Let eggplant cool slightly and make your dressing–the dressing that there’s no picture of because I forgot.

Next, layer your eggplant in a baking dish of some sort and season them with salt and pepper.

Next, drizzle some of the dressing and add chopped basil.

Layer, season, drizzle, basil, repeat.

Cover it and let it sit at room temperature an hour or two before serving.

It’s nice that you can make it in advance and it just tastes better the longer it hangs out.

Next, we make clams for the first course. I think you can find the recipe in the sidebar. I used a jalapeno from the garden this time.

Entree? Italian sausage burgers with peppers and onion. We had these in New York at Guido’s Uncle Bobby’s house and we promptly stole the idea.

Saute a few sliced onions and thinly sliced peppers in a mixture of olive oil and a little butter. Season with salt, pepper and a big pinch of sugar.

They look like this when they’re done.

Remove the sausages from the casings. Today I used pork Italian sausages from Bledsoe’s at the farmer’s market, but often I buy the chicken Sicilian sausages from Trader Joe’s. They are spicy and make a flavorful burger.

And form them into thin burgers. Thin! You want them to cook through. Nobody wants a medium rare sausage. Put them onto a hot grill and cook until done but not hockey pucks.

The finale!

Really good, and even better—EASY.

Grilled and Marinated Eggplant Salad
Serves 6-8

2 lbs. Japanese eggplant (about 12)
1/4 cup olive oil + more for grilling
3 Tbsp. good balsamic vinegar, such as Bariani
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped basil
salt, pepper

Prepare charcoal or heat broiler.

Slice eggplant on the bias about 1/2 inch thick. Toss with about 2 Tbsp. olive oil, or so they are just coated. Grill until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes per side.
Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk the garlic, oil and vinegar together.

Layer eggplant in baking dish, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle on some basil. Repeat layering.

Cover and let sit for about 2 hours at room temperature before serving.


Uncle Bobby’s Italian Sausage Burgers with Peppers and Onions

Serves 4

1 package of Italian sausage, raw, in casing (4 sausages)
soft white rolls
2 onions, sliced thinly
2-3 bell peppers, sliced thinly–assorted colors are best
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
salt, pepper, sugar

Heat grill. You can cook them in a pan if you are so inclined.

Heat oil and butter in large saute pan. Add onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt pepper and a generous pinch of sugar. Add peppers and garlic, turn heat to medium low and continue to cook until a little caramelized, 15 minutes in all. Turn off heat and set aside.

Remove sausage from casings and form into 4 thin patties. Keep them thin so they will cook through properly.

Serve on soft white rolls with a generous helping of the onions and peppers on top.

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