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Creole Andouille Burgers with Eggplant Frites and Boule Mayo

Creole and Cajun dishes are known for bold flavor and spiciness, and most people seem to naturally associate them with a few specific dishes and flavors. Although it sounds unthinkably strange, the combination of spicy and sweet is amazing- this recipe is an introduction into that Creole creation. The flavorful andouille laced burger is topped with a crispy eggplant fritter and finished with a spicy and sweet “Boule” (good!!!) mayonnaise. It’s completely unexpected, and completely delicious.

Ingredients 

Patties:
1/2 pound andouille sausage, ground in a food processor
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
Boule Mayo
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons hot pepper sauce 
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
Eggplant Fritters:
6 slices of peeled eggplant, about 3’8” thick
¼ cup kosher salt (for sweating eggplant)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp Cajun seasoning mix
2-6 cups canola oil for deep frying , depending on pan size
¼ cup powdered sugar
Arugula salad:
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 T. Grey Poupon djon mustard
1/3 cup Canola oil
2 cups washed and dried arugula
6 Kaiser rolls, split

Instructions 

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to high. To make the patties, combine the andouille, salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, and chuck in a large bowl. Handling the meat very gently to avoid over mixing, divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and place a small indention in the center of each to prevent bulging. To make the mayo, combine mayonnaise, pepper sauce, and powdered sugar in a bowl. Set aside. To make the eggplant: Fill a large, heavy fireproof frying pan with at least 1” oil but do not fill the pan more than 1/3 full. (Preferably, use a pan with a wide diameter and a rim of at least 3” high) Carefully place the pan onto the grill and heat oil to about 345 degrees. Sprinkle the eggplant slices liberally with salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. While the eggplant is sweating, mix eggs and buttermilk in a bowl. Mix breadcrumbs and Cajun seasoning in a large shallow dish. When the eggplant is finished soaking and ready to fry, dip eggplant into milk mixture, then into panko mixture. Place eggplant carefully into the pan, and fry until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and place onto a paper towel. Remove pan from grill carefully. Sprinkle eggplant liberally with powdered sugar. Set aside, or back on warm spot on the grill to keep it warm. To make the arugula: In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, mustard, and oil until emulsified. In a large bowl, toss the arugula with a few tablespoons of the dressing at a time until it is lightly coated but not overdressed. Set aside. Adjust the grill heat to medium-high. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference about 3-4 minutes on each side for medium. During the final minutes of grilling the patties, place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly. To assemble the burgers, add the patties to the bottom of the bun. Top each patty with an eggplant fritter, and about 1/3 cup arugula. Spread mayo generously on each roll top. Add the roll tops to the patties to serve. Makes 6 burgers