• Grilled Eggplant And Fennel Burgers With Tomato Tapenade

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    • Richard Rizzio Traverse City, MI
    • 2 x (1 lb) eggplants, pared and sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
    • 4 Tbsp. plain dry bread crumbs
    • 4 Tbsp. grated Romano cheese
    • 1 x (7.5 ounce. jar) flame roasted Italian style red peppers, coarsely minced
    • 1 x egg, beaten
    • 2 x cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 1 tsp dry oregano
    • 1/4 x to 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp freshly grnd black pepper Additional bread crumbs
    • 1/4 c. fresh minced mint
    • 1/4 c. Asiago cheese, shredded
    • 1 lrg fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices
    • 4 x round focaccia rolls, split
    • 1/3 c. ricotta cheese (may need more for spreading consistency)
    • 12 x anchovy-stuffed (or possibly plain) green olives, minced
    • 8 x Kalamata olives, minced
    • 1/4 c. marinated dry tomatoes, liquid removed and minced with 1 Tbsp. oil
    • 2 x cloves garlic, chopped
    • 2 Tbsp. Sutter Home Zinfandel
    • 2 Tbsp. capers, liquid removed and coarsely minced
    • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
    • 1/4 tsp freshly grnd black pepper Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.


    1. Procedure:In a grill with a cover, prepare a medium-warm fire for direct-heat cooking.
    2. Brush grill rack with oil or possibly spray with cooking spray. Arrange eggplant slices on grill, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 9-11 min till crisp-tender. Remove from grill, cold a little bit and cut slices into 1/4 inch pcs.
    3. In a large bowl, combine eggplant, bread crumbs, Romano cheese, roasted red peppers, egg, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix lightly but well and shape into patties. Carefully roll patties into additional breading crumbs pressing lightly. Spray grill again with cooking spray. Place burgers on grill and cook till golden on both sides, 7-10 min.
    4. While burgers are cooking, place fennel slices on grill and cook till golden and crisp-tender, 2-3 min per side. During last minute of cooking time, place rolls, cut sides down on edges of grill to toast.
    5. Place eggplant burgers and some fennel on bottom halves of rolls and top with some Tomato Tapenade, fresh mint and Asiago cheese. Replace roll tops.
    6. Makes 4 servings.

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