Oh, eggplant. If tomatoes are the diva musical theater kids, I believe the eggplants are the yearbook nerds of the vegetable kingdom. Often odd looking and mysterious, get them in the right situation, and they can be an absolute delight to be around.
Hmm. Clearly I need more sleep. Or less congested sinuses.
*Trying to avoid discussing why I know so much about yearbook nerds.*
Got a few sitting on the counter? (Eggplants, I mean.) I’ve got a recipe for you. This one’s kind of quirky, so stay with me for a second.
Run a few eggplants over the “thin” slicing blade, then put them in a plastic bag with some wicked marinade.
Dry them out in the oven for several hours and what do you have?
Eggplant “Bacon”, that’s what.
Now don’t start munching on this stuff expecting a perfect match.
(There is no perfect replacement for bacon. Ever.)
It has a smoky, spicy flavor that reminds me of bacon. It’s fun to eat alone (like bacon) or put on a salad (like bacon) or on a sandwich (like bacon). See the uses for this?
And if I were a vegetarian, I would make this every week.
Crispy Eggplant "Bacon"
1 large eggplant
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch black pepper
Slice the eggplant to about 1/8-1/4” thickness. A mandoline slicer is recommended for this to create even slices.
Whisk together remaining ingredients.
You can layer the eggplant slices in a baking dish, pouring the marinade over each layer to ensure complete coating or if you're lazy (like me) throw the eggplant into a zip-top bag and pour the marinade in it. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Turn on oven to the lowest possible setting. Most ovens only go down to 170 degrees F. This worked just fine. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove eggplant slices from the marinade and arrange on the baking sheets. Place them in the oven, and “cook” for several hours, or overnight, until crispy. Actual time will vary according to oven temperature.
from Cara's Cravings