Monday, January 6, 2014

BBQ Eggplant Sliders with Caesar Coleslaw

Eggplants are magic little things. They can be textured and meaty like in an Eggplant Parmesan, or they can be smooth as silk like in baba ghanoush. This recipe makes use of both of those textures and everything in-between in one easy cooking method. By cooking the halved eggplant skin-side-down on a hot grill, the portion of the eggplant closest to the grill gets smooth while the cut side retains a nice meaty toothiness.

The Caesar Coleslaw adds some great character to the sandwich. Caesar is one of the our favorite dressings around here these days. I had a little left over in the fridge, so I tossed it together with our shredded cabbage and BOOM! Best slaw I've ever had, hands-down.

So many people have no idea what to cook for vegetarians at a cookout. Here's your answer. Besides that, it's quick, doesn't take a whole lot of babying, and it feeds a crowd. Need to feed more than six? It can easily be doubled or tripled. Do you have some vegan guests? Just swap out the mayo and cheese for vegan versions. It's easy! Entertaining can be fun if you just don't stress. This easy dish can help you be the effortless host you always wanted to be.

BBQ Eggplant Sliders with Caesar Coleslaw

Caesar Coleslaw (recipe follows)
4 medium Italian eggplants
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/4 cup The Chubby Vegetarian's Signature Dry Rub
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (warmed)
12 slider buns or dinner rolls

Make the Caesar Coleslaw according to the recipe and store in the fridge until ready to assemble the sliders. Preheat your outdoor grill to high. Prepare the eggplant by slicing each in half longways, then cuts slits in the flesh of the eggplant every 1/4 inch; cut through most of the flesh but not the skin.

In a medium bowl whisk together the canola oil, sesame oil, and the vinegar. Drizzle each eggplant half with the oil and vinegar mixture. Apply The Chubby Vegetarian's Signature Dry Rub liberally to each eggplant.

Place eggplant skin-side-down on the hot grill* and close the lid for 20 minutes. Remove eggplant and tent with foil. Allow it to cool so that you are able to handle it. Using your hands, pull as much of the eggplant flesh away from the skin keeping the large strands intact. Discard the skin. Toss the eggplant with the warm BBQ sauce.

Assemble the sliders by splitting the buns and distributing the eggplant evenly among the 12 buns. Top each with about 1/8 cup of the Caesar Coleslaw and cap it off with the top bun. Serve with extra sauce, slaw, and napkins.

Caesar Coleslaw

1 medium head of green cabbage (finely shredded, about 7 cups)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon grainy mustard (like Zatarain's)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 clove garlic (micro-planed or minced)
1 teaspoon vegan/vegetarian worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Tabasco hot sauce (to taste)

Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, mayonnaise, garlic, worcestershire, honey, and parmesan cheese. Add hot sauce to taste. Toss to incorporate. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

* This also works just as well in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.