Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jackalope Jr. with Roasted Eggplant

At a cookout at his house this summer, my buddy Andy told me the legend of the jackalope. He said that he practically lived off of them in college at the University of Tennessee. No he wasn't eating an imaginary bunny/ deer hybrid. The jackalope is a grilled vegetable sandwich that contains both a portobello mushroom and a thick slice of eggplant. He would pop the slice of eggplant into the gill side of the mushroom and grill it up. He made a version of the jackalope in his backyard that day, and it was delicious.

I decided to try it out at home. I, of course, had to put my own spin on it, so instead of grilling the eggplant, I roasted it. Do this by sticking a raw, uncut eggplant on a hot grill for about 3o minutes. You want the skin to turn completely black, so you want to turn it every 10 minutes. Once the eggplant is nice and burned, place it in a metal bowl, cover it with foil, and put it in the fridge until it's completely cool. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh away from the burned skin and place into a container. Do not add the juice that had collected in the bowl. It is bitter. Add salt and pepper to taste. I like to roast several eggplants at once because the smoky and creamy flavor makes a great sandwich filler and a delicious pizza topper.
Let's make the sandwich:

2 cups roasted eggplant
4 grilled portobello mushrooms
chopped parsley
balsamic vinegar
spring mix
sliced tomato
sliced onion
sliced rustic bread
vegan mayo

Toast bread and spread a little vegan mayo on each side. Stuff the gill-side of each mushroom with the roasted eggplant mixture, and drizzle each with balsamic vinegar. Build your sandwich any way you'd like. Enjoy the rich smoky flavor of the jackalope jr.

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