I can't believe I have been M.I.A. for almost two weeks. I think this is probably a first for me.
The three words that sum up my lack of cooking and posting these days are: work, diet and work.
I won't get into the whole description but I promise every child-free minute I had these days (and some none free-child hours) I spent working.
Oh, and of course my son got the dreaded stomach flu just as I was nearing my deadline... but I will not go into that either, because I really think that would be too much information.
Last but not least, when you are desperately trying to drop a few pounds, having a cooking blog is not ideal. So the only logical thing for me to do (yes, I know it is not an original solution, but hey, I missed you guys) is to share some of my ideas. I know some of you out there are in the same situation and even if you don't need to get rid of some winter blubber, who doesn't want to eat healthy, right?
Because the word diet makes me run (excuse the pun), I need to convince my brain I am eating normal food, real food. So I try to use the best quality ingredients, I make my dishes colorful, I try to come up with original ideas and to keep things as tasty as possible. Which, by the way, helps convince my family to eat what I am having without too much of a problem.
And so I present you the eggplant burger... yes, a vegetarian burger made with eggplant, but an inverted one, and lighter than the one I made here.
2 medium sized eggplants (or enough for 16 slices)
2 buffalo mozzarellas (or enough for 8 slices)
small ripe vine tomatoes (about 20)
a bunch of basil
The first step of this very simple recipe is salting and draining your eggplant to get rid of excess water and possible bitterness. Wash the eggplant, slice it into approximately 1cm-thick slices and sprinkle with salt, letting the vegetable drain for an hour or two.
in the meantime you can start cutting the tomatoes into small pieces and washing the basil and blending it with some salt and olive oil (and garlic if you like) and set both aside.
When the eggplant is ready, clean it off with paper towel and grill. I used a grilling pan.
Preheat the oven to 200/220°C. Now is also a good time to cut the mozzarella into slices. I used buffalo mozzarella (bufala) because it is tastier, but normal mozzarella works just as well.
Once the eggplant slices are nice and cooked through, lay them out on a flat surface, brush some of the basil sauce onto all of them and place a slice of mozzarella onto half of them. Then cover these with another slice of eggplant, making a mozzarella eggplant burger. Lay the "burgers" on an oven tray lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil (the mozzarella will get runny). Heat them in the oven for a few minutes, as long as it takes for the mozzarella to get melty, making sure they don't burn.
When the "burgers" look ready, put two on each plate, garnish with the tomatoes, drizzle over the basil sauce and some olive oil and a dusting of pepper and salt.
I am sure this would work really well on a BBQ too if you have outdoor grilling space.