A dusting of kosher salt, black pepper, granulated garlic, dried basil, cayenne pepper
Start with the sauce. Classic, dare I say correct, tomato sauce has a touch of cinnamon in it. This may be new to some of you, but trust me, you will appreciate the depth it provides. Dice and mince the onion and garlic. Heat a sauce pan with a good amount of olive oil (about a quarter cup). Sauté the onions and garlic when the olive oil comes to temp, then when softened a bit add the salt, Italian seasoning, cinnamon and red chili flakes. Mix and simmer for only a minute or less, then add the crushed tomatoes and chicken stock. Stir it up, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer away.
Next, preheat the oven to 400 degrees (this is for the eggplant later). Decide how you want to cook your burgers — indoor or outdoor grill or just on the stove top. I got a large pan heated to medium-high, melted some coconut oil and seared my burgers that way. Use whatever cooking method you want and whatever fat you want in order to get a good sear on both sides of the burger without cooking it through. But I’m getting ahead of myself… Mix the ground beef with a quarter cup of chopped flat-leaf parsley, minced garlic and seasonings. Form into four patties and then sear as discussed.
While the beef is browning, cut the eggplant into four thick slices — about a half inch. Lay in an ungreased baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and dust with the seasonings listed. Only do this for one side. I’m not giving an exact measurement on the seasonings because it really is as simple as take a pinch of each and evenly dust the eggplant with it. Go as heavy or light as you prefer. Some of you might not care for the added salt and others may want to turn the dust into a shake when it comes to the cayenne. Do what you like… it’s your dinner!
Time to bring it all together. Lay a burger patty on each eggplant slice. Top each with a heaping quarter cup of tomato sauce. Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.
If you eat cheese, add whatever sounds good (or what you have on hand) plus some extra chopped parsley before sitting down to eat.