Remember when your list “Things I Worry About” included: Should I eat nightshades? You wrote that list before The Election. Nightshades are slightly poisonous (supposedly) foods posing as healthy ones. Eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, even Goji berries (Take that, Hot Yoga!) are all in the Nightshade family–the most Metal/Goth of the food families. The matriarch of the clan is Bella Donna or Deadly Nightshade–an actual deadly poison.
I was inspecting eggplants at the Petaluma Whole Foods when a socially interactive (wraith) woman said, “Nightshades cause Leaky Gut Syndrome. I would never eat nightshades.”
Really? That is what you would never do? How ’bout never join ISIS or never kidnap an elderly person for ransom. Perhaps focus on never talking to strangers. Can we dial down the food rants, shoppers? or let them be our inside voices?–which are thoughts.
Back to eggplant. If nightshades are the most Metal of the food families, Eggplant is my Tenacious D. It’s funny, pretend-dangerous, and delicious, like Jack Black.
Today I did the most metal thing in the universe. Think I hammered out (on my Axe) a vicious rendition of Metallica’s “Blackened”? I did not. I did something more Metal than that. More Metal, even, than biting the head off an arguably live bat. I created a potion that turns vegetables into Meat. Make-It-Meat!™ Utilizing the exact chemical compounds found in flesh and blood (e.g. carbon), I’ve created a marinade that precisely replicates the flavors of deliciously cooked animal bodies.
I was a vegetarian/vegan for an unnaturally long year. Throughout that dark season I experimented with faux meats made from sad grain porridges and mealy soy pulps. Tofu Pups, Fak’n BaKin. The F*ck’n Bacon was a felony. Vile. I resent how processed food hucksters prey on low brain-vitamin Vegans. It’s not fair and it perpetuates bad food making. You can’t just slap the word burger after another word and then serve that stuff to people, you shameless bastards. Seed-burger? Where does it end, freaks? Are we birds? We are not.
Just like I won’t lend my hairbrush to Kid Rock, you won’t catch me calling plants burgers, dogs or sausages. I will marinate the living daylights into some thick eggplant steaks with my Make-It-Meat™ sauce. Those steaks can become grilled Eggplant-Mignon Sandwiches. This is the best vegan substitute for a juicy hamburger I’ve tried. The beauty lies in the fact that we’re not being big-fat-liars about what we are eating. It’s not an eggplant burger! More of a Zombie-Burger™. We bring the eggplant to life by infusing it with blood-like goodness. It’s enjoyable, Dr. Frankenstein.
Yes, it’s salty, but so are the blessed tears of our enemies. Salt is good. The little bits of fermented black bean add a perfect hint of crisp, umami protein. The blackberry jam and ketchup bring that sweet, bitten lip, real blood note–unique to a medium-rare hamburger. I’m not kidding around with this marinade. If you soak a whole eggplant in it for an hour, you will get a pulse.
Make-It-Meat Marinade for Grilled Eggplant
- One medium-large sized eggplant, peeled
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons prepared black bean garlic sauce
- 1 tablespoon blackberry jam
- 1 teaspoon ketchup
Whisk all ingredients together in a medium/small sized marinating dish, minimum 2-3 inches deep.
Peel a medium-large eggplant. Cut into 1 (1/2) -2 inch thick rounds. I'm calling them Eggplant Mignons.
Place the Mignons in the dish to marinate for 30 minutes to overnight. Turn them over half way through the marinating process to ensure both sides absorb sauce deeply.
Heat up a BBQ or a cast iron pan. When the grill is ready or the pan is piping hot, sear those eggplant rounds for about 2 minutes. Flip and sear for 2 minutes on the other side. The eggplant should have beautiful color after just 2-3 minutes per side. After you've achieved the color and beloved grill marks, move to a cooler part of the grill or lower stovetop heat to LOWEST setting. Cook the Mignons at low heat until tender--another 3-4 minutes long. Flip frequently to avoid burning or drying the rounds out.
Serve as you would a hamburger or any delicious grilled food.