All the flavors of a big Italian Sunday supper loaded into a toasty garlic parmesan bread bun? Mama Mia, yes please! My Eggplant Parm Italian Sausage Burgers are absolute melty, crispy, cheesy perfection. I think Eggplant Parm might be one of my very favorite splurge meals. Biting into that crispy breaded outside, the tender juicy eggplant on the inside and then the loads of fresh herby tomato sauce and melted gooey cheese. It's pure heaven and the only thing to take it over the top is all of the crispy buttery garlic bread to sop it all up with.
Don't you just want to dive in?! I mean look at that melting mozzarella...
Eggplant Parm Italian Sausage Burgers
6 cups vegetable oil
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced in ¼ inch rounds
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup milk
1 ½ cup Italian flavored breadcrumbs
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
1 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
6 Tablespoons melted butter
8 Pepperidge Farm Golden Potato Hamburger Buns
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 cup jarred pizza sauce
8 thick slices fresh mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Pour the oil in a large high sided frying pan, fitted with a candy thermometer, over medium high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees.
Lay the slices of eggplant on a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Place the flour and ½ teaspoon of salt in one shallow dish, then the egg and milk in a separate shallow dish and the breadcrumbs and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt in a third shallow dish. Pat all of the liquid dry on the slices and dredge them lightly in flour, then in the egg mixture and lastly, the breadcrumbs. Once all of the eggplant is coated, fry in batches for 3-5 minutes each or until crisp and lightly browned. Allow the slices to drain on a paper towel lined cooked sheet and place in the oven to keep warm.
In a large mixing bowl mix together both sausages and form the meat into 8 patties that are the size of your buns. Heat a large cast iron skillet or grill pan over high heat and once the pan is hot, cook the patties for 5 minutes, flip the patties over and cook for 3 minutes more. Top each patty with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and cover the pan with a lid to allow the cheese to steam and melt.
Remove the eggplant slices from the oven and set the broiler to high heat. In a small mixing bowl stir together the garlic powder and melted butter. Place all of the buns cut side up on a large cookie sheet. Brush each bun with the garlic butter mixture and then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Place under the broiler until toasted and lightly browned, watching closely to prevent burning.
Once the buns are toasted, remove from the oven and top each bun bottom with a spoonful of pizza sauce, a burger patty, another spoonful of sauce, slices of fried eggplant and the toasted burger bun tops. Serve immediately.