One thing I don’t recall seeing on any menus in Italy was hamburgers.  Actually, ground beef of any sort.  I know it’s there – they have beef, after all – but it wasn’t something being featured on any menus I remember.

So here I was at home – pining for Italy and hoping our dinnerware gets here soon – when I decided a Bruschetta Burger was just what the dottore ordered.

We ate a lot of bruschetta in Italy.  The toppings were as varied as the places we ate them, although one we had a couple of times stands out – a chicken liver bruschetta that was out of this world good.  It actually had chicken livers and hearts in it.  Both were slightly different but had similar qualities.  I’m working on replicating it.

But that’s in the future.  I needed tonight. I grabbed an eggplant and started work.

My thought process was a caponata of sorts topping a burger topped with asiago – all sitting on a thick slice of toasted Italian bread.

My thought process was right-on.

This was a wing-it recipe.  If you have a favorite caponata recipe, go for it.

Eggplant Caponata

  • 1 med eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red pepper
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 10 basil leaves, minced
  • 6 mint leaves, minced
  • 1/2 cup Locatelli (pecorinio Romano) cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Saute onion, celery, and garlic in a bit of olive oil.  When onion is translucent, add wine and cook down.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and 1 can water.

Add eggplant, roasted red peppers, capers and vinegar.

Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and simmer about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Stir in basil and mint.  Add cheese and then check for seasoning, adding S&P, as desired.

Serve as bruschetta topping, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or just stand there and eat with a spoon right out of the pot.

This really was a fun spin on your basic cheeseburger. Thick slices of bread liberally doused with olive oil and grilled is a great start to anything.  Burgers topped with asiago is another great idea on its own.  But the two together with the caponata?!?  Total fun.

There is a lot of the caponata left over.  I see a pasta dish in our future…