Introduction: Eggplant Bacon

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Bacon is one of the most delicious foods ever, but one that vegetarians, vegans, and other folks with dietary restrictions are sure to miss it at breakfast time (and lunch, and dinner, and snacks). With a few simple ingredients, you can make a yummy bacon-proxy sure to please all your brunch guests - even pork-aholics.

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

  1. Wash your eggplants well
  2. Peel if desired (leaving the peel on results in crisper slices later
  3. 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!
  4. Put the slices into the mixing bowl and sprinkle in Bacon Salt (you'll need a lot)
  5. Toss the slices around with your fingers until all slices are coated on both sides
  6. You can keep the slices in this bowl or transfer them to the draining rack placed over the sheet pan (if using)
  7. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the bitter fluid to drain from the eggplant

Step 3: Fry 'Em Up

  1. Pour approximately an inch of oil into your cast iron pan and heat over medium-high heat
  2. 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!
  3. Fry until crispy and lightly browned all over (or more brown if you like your bacon extra crispy)
  4. Remove from pan using tongs and place on a layer of paper towels or brown paper bags to wick away the excess oil
  5. Enjoy as is, or make yourself a delicious ELT (eggplant, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich!
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