I was in a perversely umami mood the morning I made both eggplant bacon and seitan chorizo. Eggplant bacon (at least this batch) does not taste remotely like bacon. It's spicier and fruitier. Still, it serves a similar purpose when you put it in a dish like split pea soup--it adds dimension and meatiness that might otherwise be lacking. (I think this shroom dust would do the same thing..).
In making Annie's recipe, I made few changes: I used straight up cayenne instead of chili powder, obviating the need for black pepper. I also kept things simple and used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic.
Eggplant, thinly sliced, marinated:
And, 40 minutes later, having been roasted, flipped, and basted:
(adapted from phoo-d)
1 large eggplant, top cut off and sliced lengthwise in 1/8" thick slices
2 TB tamari
2 TB maple syrup
2 TB apple cider vinegar
2 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp cayenne (reduce if you don't want spicy)
3-5 drops liquid smoke
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
Instructions1. In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, cayenne, liquid smoke, paprika, and garlic. Add the eggplant spices and toss until they are evenly coated with the marinade. Let the eggplant sit in the liquid for at least 1 hour, turning the slices occasionally.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees with racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. Set wire cooling racks on top of two foil lined cookie sheets. Lay eggplant slices in a single layer on top of the racks. Reserve the leftover marinade. Bake for 40 minutes, turning the eggplant slices over half way through, basting them with the remaining marinade, and switching the cookie sheets from one oven rack to the other. Keep an eye on the eggplant slices near the end of the cooking time to make sure they are not turning too black. You want the slices dark brown and mostly dried out but not burnt. When the eggplant bacon is done, pull the sheets from the oven and let cool slightly before removing from racks. Transfer the eggplant bacon to an airtight container. It is best if used the same day it is made but will keep in the fridge up to 3 days. Makes 16-20 slices.
I put this eggplant bacon with split pea soup, just as Annie suggested. As I ran out of split peas, I made up the difference with red lentils (see above photo). I made a half recipe, but then I got a bit generous with the herbs. I also made it in my slow cooker, sauteeing everything in a frying pan and then transferring it to the crock pot with the water, stock, and legumes. A half recipe made a LOT; I ate this all week. And, while it was good, it wasn't anything crazily special, so I think I've had my fill for the foreseeable future.
Split Pea Soup with Eggplant Bacon
(adapted from phoo-d0)
1 TB olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, trimmed, strings removed, and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c split peas or lentils
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp dry basil
1 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground mustard seed
1 bay leaf
3 c water
3 c vegetable broth
eggplant bacon, chopped
InstructionsPlace a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the split peas, salt, basil, marjoram, black pepper, mustard, bay leaf, water, and vegetable boullion. Stir well and bring the soup to a slow simmer. Cook until the peas are soft, stirring frequently, about 30-40 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. If desired blend several cups of the soup and add it back into the pot for a thicker texture. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as necessary. Serves 4-6.
Alternatively, prepare this recipe by sauteeing as directed above, then combining everything in a crock pot; cook on low for 6 hours.
I also recently tried to flame-roast a zucchini for baba ganoush. It didn't really work.