This summer I lost most of my tomatoes to Blight. By most I mean I got like 5 good tomatoes out of 16 plants. This is apparently the fault of all the people who buy their vegetable plants at Walmart and the crappy suppliers they use that quickly spread this fungal infection all over the North East to innocents such as myself who buy organic heirloom seeds from a local company. The loss of my tomatoes was really incredibly sad, but I did end up with tons of squash, yellow, zucchini, and pattypans, heaps and heaps of beans, and lots of eggplants. For a while every meal was eggplants, squash and beans. I had to get pretty creative with some of it because the boy does not care for eggplant when it isn't breaded, fried, and drenched in tomato sauce. I had heard of Eggplant Bacon before, but all the recipes I could find online were for raw, dehydrated eggplant bacon. That wasn't what I was going for because I don't have a dehydrator, and in my opinion, anything "bacon" needs to be fried in fat. I thought then I'd just use the marinade that was used for the dehydrated eggplant bacon, but that was mostly just tamari. Then I said screw this, I'll figure it out myself, and made some really delicious Eggplant Bacon that I used in BLTs. The boy adored it and was upset I hadn't made more! WIN!
For this recipe, I used the long, thin Asian eggplants. They're less seedy and the skin is tender, but I suppose you could use a big fat Italian eggplant too if you peeled it and cut the slices in half to make them long and thing.
2 Asian eggplants, sliced thin on a mandolin
1/4 cup tamari
1 tbsp fake bacon bits
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp veg worcestershire sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
Canola Oil (or another high smoke point oil of your choice) for frying
1. In a blender or food processor, mix together the tamari, facon bits, olive oil, worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke until relatively smooth.
2. Paint both sides of each slice of eggplant with the mixture, and lay in a dish to marinate. Pour the extra liquid over the top.
3. Marinate for up to 12 hrs. I did about 8.
4. Pour enough oil in the bottom of a cast iron pan to coat. Heat the oil on high, then add the slices of eggplant. Fry on both sides until browned, then lay on paper towels/brown paper to drain the excess oil.
The bacon doesn't get super crispy, except the skin, though the browner it is the better the texture (stop before it burns!) and the flavor is fantastic!