Eggplant Bacon FAIL, for a very sad reason…But the Potato Cakes were Awesome

The other day I read something about eggplant bacon…sounded interesting. I did a little googling and skimmed a few recipes without bothering to read any one of them all the way through. Well, that was a mistake. It wouldn’t have been so bad, though, if I hadn’t gotten carried away with my all time favorite ingredient: SALT. For once in my life I actually found something a little *too* salty for my liking. It almost doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, this is easily remedied (add less salt next time!), so I’m still going to share this simple, yet somewhat time consuming, meal with you. Together we can work out the bugs.

Preheat your oven to 425. I put two Klondike Rose potatoes in right away while the oven was heating (whole, washed, just regular ol’ baked potatoes…for now) – this was my first time having Klondike Rose potatoes, I didn’t know what I was in for. LOVE.

So now that your potatoes are baking, peel your eggplant.

Most of the recipes I looked at said to cut the eggplant into rounds, but I wanted it to look like strips of bacon. I don’t think it matters either way, so do as you please. The strips or rounds should be about 1/8″ thick.

Now, here’s where I failed to read the recipes and it *may* have caused a problem. You’re supposed to line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spray the parchment with oil, arrange the eggplant in a single layer and then spray the eggplant with the cooking oil. Bake about 8 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Remove the eggplant pieces as they brown. Let them cool.
I skipped that step entirely and went on to this next step:

Place the eggplant in a large bowl and season to taste (careful now!!) with, according to the recipes, soy sauce and liquid smoke. I also used smoked paprika to give it a nice reddish color, and added bacon salt because, well, I wanted it to taste like bacon. Thinking back, I suppose that was not really necessary. I also added smoked black pepper. It could have been so delicious….

Mix well to coat the eggplant. (oh yeah, the original recipe also said to lower the heat to 350 at this point, and mix the liquid smoke and soy sauce in a bowl and dip the eggplant in it)

Arrange it on the baking sheet, again (or for the first time, if you’re me). According to the original recipe, these only need to be baked another 3 minutes, just to heat them through.

For me, I was baking the eggplant for the first time at this point, at 400 in my convection oven. I really think it’s better to start out baking it already seasoned, so the flavor will cook in. However, I would add oil to my liquid so the eggplant will absorb it better and be less likely to burn.

Anyway, let’s get back to our potatoes.

I wasn’t even going to bother taking a picture at first, but after I mashed them up I noticed they were extremely moist and sticky, and had a great flavor before I even added anything. I ended up just adding about a tablespoon or so of tahini with a little water, pepper and salt. Then I divided the mixture into four parts…

and made four little potato cakes. I sprayed the tops with cooking oil and sprinkled them with kosher salt, then put them in the oven with the fakon.

Sandwich time. I made a little sauce out of tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, onion powder and dill and spread it on the toasted bread.

My fake bacon strips, a little burned…with tomatoes, lettuce coming soon!

It looks so nice in the pictures.

With the potato cakes. Oh yeah, take the potato cakes out when they start to brown on top and around the edges. I served mine (to myself :)) with my favorite condiment – ketchup! The second sandwich I made, which is not pictured, I put one of the potato cakes right inside. It was a little messy, but delicious and killed some of the saltiness of the slightly burned eggplant bacon.

And I want you to know I didn’t waste any of that “bacon,” I even used it for a late night snack that very night. I didn’t have any leftover, but I read (yes, actually read) it doesn’t keep well. Eat & enjoy while it’s fresh. Don’t use too much salt, and either follow THIS recipe from Post Punk Kitchen, or be sure to add oil to your soy sauce & liquid smoke. And if you’re only baking once, try baking at 375. That is what I plan to do next time.

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