Step 1: You'll Need. . .
- A few small eggplants (Japanese or Italian work best - small ones are preferred since they have fewer or no seeds)
- Bacon Salt (I like to use the maple or natural, but it's up to you) - if you don't have Bacon Salt or don't have access to it, you can try a mix of salt, pepper, brown sugar, and paprika (and maybe a little onion and garlic powder)
- Oil for frying (vegetable or canola work well)
- A mandolin for slicing (if you don't have one, you can use a very sharp knife)
- A medium sized mixing bowl and a sheet pan with some type of cooling/straining rack over it (sheet pan method is not required, but is recommended)
- Large cast iron skillet
- Kitchen tongs
- Paper towels (brown paper bags can also be used)
Step 2: Prep Your 'Plants
- Wash your eggplants well
- Peel if desired (leaving the peel on results in crisper slices later
- Using the mandolin (or knife) slice approximately 1/8" thick. Make sure to use the finger guard and be very careful so you don't cut yourself!
- Put the slices into the mixing bowl and sprinkle in Bacon Salt (you'll need a lot)
- Toss the slices around with your fingers until all slices are coated on both sides
- You can keep the slices in this bowl or transfer them to the draining rack placed over the sheet pan (if using)
- Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the bitter fluid to drain from the eggplant
Step 3: Fry 'Em Up
- Pour approximately an inch of oil into your cast iron pan and heat over medium-high heat
- Once the oil is nice and hot, gently wipe off the extra liquid (and some of the Bacon Salt) from each eggplant slice, add slices one at a time to the oil. Be very careful! The high water content in the eggplant slices will make the oil splatter a lot!
- Fry until crispy and lightly browned all over (or more brown if you like your bacon extra crispy)
- Remove from pan using tongs and place on a layer of paper towels or brown paper bags to wick away the excess oil
- Enjoy as is, or make yourself a delicious ELT (eggplant, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich!