When I read this post by Emerging Adult Eats I knew I wanted to try making eggplant bacon. Eggplant has not always been a welcome vegetable on my plate. The thing I disliked most about it was the mushy texture, and the thought of crispy eggplant was intriguing.
I used the slender Ichiban variety which grows in my garden. Rather than cut them into thin slices I left them whole and grilled them in the George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine®.
To prepare the eggplants for grilling I peeled two strips of skin off of each one and jabbed holes in them with a fork to increase their ability to absorb flavors from the marinade.
Ingredients for the marinade were:
- homemade Worcestershire sauce (which Faye made without anchovies)
- liquid smoke
- maple syrup
- smoked paprika
- smoky Black Label Reserve habanero hot sauce (photo below)
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- Xanthan gum (for body and adhereability)
The grilled eggplants were flattened but still soft and mushy, so I arranged them on a baking tray and flattened them further with the back of a spatula. They were then baked at 200ºF with the convection fan on.
While the flattened eggplants were losing moisture in the low temperature oven I set about preparing lunch, which I decided would be potato and cauliflower croquettes.
There was not a potato in the house, so, since the potato plants have run their course, it was time to see if there were any potatoes under the soil.
I boiled a few potatoes and nuked some frozen cauliflower. To those I added chopped onions, chopped cilantro, deseeded chopped red jalapeños, and a few whole minced green chilis. I crushed cumin and coriander seeds along with coarse sea salt. Asafetida and powdered fenugreek leaves were also mixed in.
A squeeze of lime juice, chickpea flour and panko bread crumbs completed the mix for the croquettes.
The croquettes worked nicely with a simple salad of iceberg lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. The dressing was nothing more than coleslaw dressing with ketchup.
Oh yeah… I almost forgot. In fact, it was because I forgot that the eggplant bacon turned out more like eggplant jerky – a bit too tough for a sandwich but great for snacking.