Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Eggplant “Bacon” – Because Fake Bacon is Better than Real Eggplant

I love that my wife, Michele, follows Questlove on social media, but not just because it makes me feel cooler by extension, which it does, but also because he’s a huge foodie, and this enticing eggplant “bacon” came from his Instagram.

Links were followed, and I discovered the recipe was from Minimalist Baker, and although I did tweak the technique and ingredient amounts a bit, the recipe is basically thieved from this gorgeous blog post. Thank you, Dana! By the way, there they were brushed, but I decided to dip. Because my slices may have been wetter, they did take way longer to cook.

Personal taste being what it is, you’ll have to experiment with not only your sweet-salty-smoky ingredient ratios, but also with how thick you cut your eggplant, as well as how long you cook it. I went for thin and crispy, but it was closer to a bbq potato chip in taste/texture than bacon. I may slice it thicker next time, and see if I can get some chewy bits, woven through the crispy bits.

These would make for some tasty vegetable chips, but were especially enjoyable in a BLT, which I inexplicably didn’t photo. I blame low blood sugar. Regardless of how you enjoy them, I really do hope you give this eggplant “bacon” a try soon. Enjoy!

Makes enough “bacon brine” for 2 medium-sized eggplants:
2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons tamari, or soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 to 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, depending on strength
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, a little coarser than usual
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggplants, sliced to about 1/8th inch

The original recipe calls for a 225 F. oven, but I would probably start this like I finished it, and that’s in a 250 F. oven. I’d plan on at least an hour baking time, but that will depend on thickness, pans, etc. Simply cook until they are how you want.


Unknown said...

Chef John, while I am in mourning for the loss of bread from your diet do you think you could use the same technique to make other flavored eggplant "chips"? Could you do a spring-onion yogurt thing with it? or even salt & vinegar?

Something tells me that the brine might be necessary to help draw out the moisture during the cooking process, but what do I know?

Unknown said...

Wow! Next time I fire up my smoker, I'm going to try this on the extra shelf. That way I can skip the liquid smoke. If it doesn't work in the smoker, I'll still have the real bacon that I'm smoking.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Thanks, Chef John, for all that you do!!!

Anonymous said...

An ingenious recipe. It looks amazing.

mattjeast said...

Looks like a new way to enjoy eggplant this summer. Would using a cooling rack work well here (like baking pork bacon), or do you think the eggplant would stick and become a wire mesh mess?

Pat said...

Great idea looks like something fun to play with when it's to cold to go outside currently -8 here lol Thx Chef John

Unknown said...

Can't eat toast (carbs) anymore?! How 'bout some low carb/keto recipes johnny boy? p.s.-- i don't expect a response.

LuisaCA said...

Not allowed to eat bread? When did this punishment start?

Unknown said...

Thanks Chef John for teaching me how to impress my family and friends with all of the great information and recipes that you share. This comment has nothing to do with the video here, but anyway...I was thinking of putting together a deep frying station at my home using an induction cooktop that I can move outdoors when I want to, and I was wondering if you might have a good system that you use for filtering and saving used cooking oil. Perhaps you might consider this subject for a future video. Have a stellar day.

Mark Lohry said...

This is going in the regular rotation.

Chef John, if you're taking requests... how about the overlooked second iconic sandwich of Philadelphia, the roast pork + broccoli rabe sandwich?

tulasi-priya dasi said...

Hi, Chef, thanks for posting this recipe. What is the make of the mandolin you use? Is there one you would recommend? Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Substitute for Worcestershire sauce. Steak sauce such as A1 brand, Soy Sauce, or make your own: Combine: 1 tsp tamarind paste, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp cider or white vinegar, dash hot pepper sauce, scant pinch cloves.

Chef John make it vegan!

Lisa D. said...

You can make vegetarian bacon with only 3 ingredients; Shitake mushrooms, olive oil and salt. Cut of stems, slice shitake heads put on flat pan in oven drizzle with olive oil and roast at 350 until crisp and dark around 20 mins or so. Absolutely delicious!

Unknown said...

Hi Chef John
Greetings from Australia!
I made the eggplant bacon and it is delicious.
So then I applied the same mixture to some thinly cut beef strips as an alternative and made the best beef jerky ever!
Absolutely delicious.

Unknown said...

Hello Chef John,
In Mediterranean cooking we often sprinkle coarse/kosher salt on the eggplant, and let them "sweat" for a while. This usually makes them makes the eggplant more tender, less bitter, and more flavorful (see for example: http://thecrunchymoose.com/eggplant-sweat-sweat/)

Would you recommend doing this or not to do this?

Thank you,

Charles Kuski said...

Hello! Do we have any idea how long this would keep? AKA, can I make a whole bunch & use it for "B"LT sandwiches through the week?

Unknown said...

Haha I put these in a 450 degree oven by mistake and burnt them to a crisp. Now trying again with less temperature. Also I couldn't find any liquid smoke. I wonder if it will turn out fine without that.

Celivia said...

Wow this is very nice, I just tried it! I had only one eggplant in the house so I halved the recipe. It turned out really good. I bought the liquid smoke online just for this recipe but will be looking for other recipes using liquid smoke, too.

Unknown said...

Great recipe. I actually really appreciate this amazing recipe. I will make it for my family. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Really nice chef john..
But I feel you have given a unique name to this....
Baigan bacon instead of egg plant bacon .
Egg plant in Hindi is called Baigan ..
So I think Baigan bacon was a better deal

Geanie said...

I am hankering to try these, but my issue is that I can't have soy products unless I know they are non-GMO. The same for corn. The same for any chemical/processed foods, sauces, etc. The reason: if I eat whole foods and make pretty much everything from scratch, and eat vegetarian, except the tiniest bits of high-quality cheese, my fibromyalgia is gone. I.E. the fibromyalgia was the symptom, not the disease.

At any rate, what could I substitute for soy sauce in this? I've been trying to find a good substitute but haven't yet.

Peter Piper said...

I noticed that although several people said this was very good, nobody was willing to say it tastes like bacon. So I'm thinking we shouldn't call it bacon.