An Italian American who loves to share food and travel adventures
Is It Bacon Or Is It Eggplant?
April 17, 2017 April 19, 2017
Okay, let’s just say up front that nothing can come close to being a great substitution for bacon – whether it is pork bacon or Kevin Bacon. Although turkey bacon is an adequate replacement once in a while, I’m sure I would get an argument on that from die-hard bacon lovers.
I’m not even going to address a substitute for Italian bacon (pancetta) because, well because Italians just wouldn’t even consider a substitute for the real thing.
Today’s post is really focused more on a different method of cooking eggplant than it is replacing bacon, even if the recipe is to create a bacon-like look and flavor out of the eggplant.
I peeled the skin off. You could probably leave the skin on if you prefer.
A smallish eggplant made the right size for this recipe – to create bacon-like sized pieces.
There was plenty of sauce for this eggplant with some leftover.
Brushing the sauce on the eggplant gave it a reddish hue.
Cooked and ready to eat. I had a hard time getting all the pieces to crisp evenly – but then I don’t have a mandolin (yet) to cut the pieces as evenly as they probably should have been.
It is an easy recipe, just cut the eggplant, whisk the sauce ingredients together, brush over the eggplant, and cook. The hardest part for me was cutting the eggplant evenly and figuring out how long to cook it so it didn’t burn, yet emerged from the oven crisp enough.
I tried the eggplant bacon in a sandwich with tomato, lettuce, a slice of onion, and provolone cheese. Yummy!
Oven temp: Original instructions said to preheat oven to 225 degrees and if your oven had a convection setting, to use it. I didn't find this worked for me. I do have a convection oven but the eggplant had to cook almost an hour to get to desired doneness. I finally had to increase the temperature to 300 degrees to get the level of crispness I wanted. It continues to crisp after it is out of the oven too.
Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and then in half again.
Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice into thin strips to resemble the size of a slice of bacon. With a small eggplant this was easily accomplished. Be careful not to slice too thin.
Whisk sauce ingredients together (oil, Worcestershire, soy sauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder) and brush on both sides of the eggplant slices.
Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add more pepper if you like.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until eggplant is deep red in color and appears dry and slightly crispy. (I had to cook mine much longer.)
Eggplant will crisp more as it cools.
If you want to make this recipe vegan, then use vegan friendly ingredients such as vegan Worcestershire, and tamari in place of soy sauce.
Use on sandwiches, salads, and with scrambled eggs, or with about any food you would use real bacon.
Since this took so long to cook in my oven, next time I would continue cooking (if not crisp enough) in a fry pan as I do when making eggplant parmesan.