How many of you take pictures of recipes from magazines or social media and never do anything with them? I am extremely guilty of this. Almost weekly I’ll see a recipe that looks interesting and snap a picture to try it later. Weeks go by and the picture gets lost in my album never to be seen again. So this week I decided I was going to go through my old iPhone photos and pick one recipe to make. I came across a recipe called Eggplant “Bacon” and had to give it a try, can’t go wrong with something named bacon right? Wrong. I totally failed. (However, I do think done right it would’ve been pretty good!).
Ingredients: Eggplant, olive oil, sugar, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder
Instructions: Slice eggplant very thin and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with sugar, smoked paprika, chili powder and garlic powder. Bake at 275 degrees F until crisped and browned (takes ~1 hour and 45 minutes).
Here is where I first went wrong – I did not follow eggplant prep instructions due to sheer laziness. Typically, you are supposed to slice and salt the eggplant generously, then place in a colander and let the water drain for about an hour to get rid of the bitter flavor. Then rinse the salt off and press with towel to get rid of excess liquid. Well, I didn’t want to take the time to do this and with a quick Google search, I found that some chefs say its not actually necessary, so that was good enough for me! My eggplant ended up tasting pretty bitter and sort of ruined the flavor
Secondly, I sliced my “bacon” totally wrong. In hindsight I probably should’ve looked it up before just winging it. But again, laziness. See below for entertainment of how different mine looks from typical eggplant “bacon” :). Thirdly, I don’t even think I picked out a good eggplant which probably contributed even more to the bitter taste. Supposedly, you should pick out a smaller eggplant because the younger the fruit is at harvest, the sweeter and more tender the flesh will be. Eggplant flesh turns bitter as the fruit matures, so picking out the largest eggplant I could find that was sort of damaged was not my best idea.
THANKFULLY, I only used half the eggplant and was able to use the other half (and prepare it correctly) for another recipe I found called eggplant pizza. This actually turned out fairly well!
- Slice eggplant to quarter inch thickness
- Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
- Roast at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes
- Flip over and top with pizza sauce, sliced cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, arugula, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper
- Bake for another 10 minutes
Moral of the story – I am not a chef. But on the bright side, I learned a lot about eggplant and ended up with a pretty healthy pizza alternative!
Eggplant is low in calories (20 calories per cup) and is a great source of fiber!