October 11th, 2011

Eggplant Bacon

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Serves 8
Time: 30 minutes

These are the perfect little morsels to tuck into a BLT, or a Caesar Salad. Anywhere delicious smoky saltiness is warranted! The perfect slice has varying textures from crisp and browned in some spots, to tender and chewy in others. To that end, hand slice these babies instead of using a mandoline and aim for 1/8 inch slices, but don’t worry about perfection. The varying degrees of thickness will work to your advantage here. Just don’t get too thick, the eggplant needs to crisp up and slices that are much thicker will just get soggy.

This recipe is so easy you’ll be making eggplant bacon in your sleep! It was originally published in Appetite For Reduction, but this version is doubled. If you don’t feel like dealing with two pans, feel free to half the recipe.

1 pound eggplant, cut into 1/8 inch thick strips
1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari if you’re gluten free)
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Prep the eggplant while the oven is preheating. Eggplants vary in size, so if using baby eggplant that is 2 inches wide at its widest, just slice into 1/8 inch thick circles. If using large eggplants, first cut in half lengthwise, then slice the halves into 1/8 inch thick halfmoons. Now what we’re going to do is bake it at a high temperature with just a bit of cooking spray oil, then let it cool, then give it smoky salty flavor and reheat.

Cover baking sheets in parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Arrange eggplant pieces in a single layer and spray lightly once more. Place in oven and bake for about 8 minutes, keeping a close eye. Rotate pans about halfway through baking.

Remove from oven and flip slices. They should be browning already, and if any are slightly burnt, don’t worry. Just move them to a plate to cool. Return remaining strips to the oven for about 3 minutes.

Remove from oven. Eggplant should be dark brown to burnt in some places, and yellowish white and tender in some places. Transfer to a plate to prevent further baking.

Lower oven to 350 F. Mix soy sauce and liquid smoke together in a large bowl. Dip eggplant slices in mixture a few at a time and return to the baking sheet. Bake for about 3 more minutes, until heated through. Serve! Keeps well for a few more hours, but definitely use these the day of.

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