I actually adapted this recipe for eggplant “jerky,” but because I did mine in the oven it shriveled and quickly gained the consistency of, well, paper. With a few tries I finally came up with a version that’s delightfully burnt and crispy around the edges, a little chewy in the middle.
2 medium eggplants, sliced thinly
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon suger
1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger
seasoned salt, to taste
Remove the stem end and quarter the eggplants. Using a cheese slicer, make as many thin slices of eggplant as you can, discarding the outer skin section. (Too chewy. You could also use a mandolin if you’re cool enough to have one. The Sig Fig would like to try thicker slices, since they end up so tasty but the consistency of paper, but I like this thin slicing method. Also, I really like slicing things other than cheese with my cheese slicer.) Put into a large container with a lid.
In a blender (or a food processor, I suppose), combine garlic, olice oil, vinegar, and ginger. Pour it into the eggplant, turning to coat. Marinate for at least 8 hours. (I cheated and pulled them out at 7, which I think turned out okay, but today’s bath, which sat overnight, was even better.)
When you’ve had your fill of marinating, slap those puppies on a baking sheet and put them in a 375º oven. I find that it’s good to salt the strips before they go in, but I forgot on a couple batches and they were just fine salted after. The orginal recipe calls for 20-25 minutes, but really you should just keep an eye on them; sliced so thinly, they can get burnt in a hurry. I’d look for slightly blackened edges.
A note on my modifications: the “jerky” consistency comes from a dehydrator, which the original recipe calls for, but I don’t have one of those. We thought the slightly crispy slices could go nicely on a pizza. I didn’t use chili pepper, though I can see that a little zing might be nice. I also went ahead and used sugar instead of agave–the original recipe calls for 3 tablespoons raw agave.
I think these would take well to a variety of marinades. Teryaki might be nice on a pizza with pineapple. I plan to try a mixture of tamari and sesame oil next; I suspect that it’ll take less sesame oil than I used olive oil, since that stuff is potent.