March 20, 2012 2 Comments
Every year my CSA will deliver one too many eggplants to my door. Too many being more than zero. Seriously, I don’t like eggplant. Neither the texture nor the flavor appeal to me, but knowing that I should eat a variety of foods in my diet, I attempt to choke them down every so often without paying too much attention to the slimy, unpalatable food I’m consuming.
Often times, when I don’t like a particular food, I whip out my trusty blender (or food processor) and puree the crap out of it. I also make sure to include a bunch of other strong flavored foods in my pureed concoction to mask the icky taste.
So when eggplant season arrives, I often find myself swimming in batch after batch of baba ghanoush, but that gets old pretty fast and, really, there’s only so much baba one can eat in a month without turning into Aladdin himself.
A few years ago (during said eggplant season) I wondered what eggplant chips would be like. After all, I was making kale chips (so amazing!) daily because I loved them so much so I decided to give the eggplant chips idea a whirl. Lo and behold I found myself with another recipe where I could actually eat eggplant without holding my nose. Eggplant, you have been redeemed in my book!
So for all of you other eggplant haters out there, here’s a simple way to use those pesky purple nightshades when they end up in your CSA box later this year. And for those of you who already love eggplant… well, I guess you’ll just have yet another way to enjoy these buggers.
- 1 eggplant (any variety, but preferably one that is long and thin like a Japanese eggplant)
- extra virgin olive oil
- dried herbs of your choice (I chose thyme for this batch)
- salt and pepper
Sweat Eggplant: Slice the eggplant into thin slices (1/8 inch or so) and lay each slice on a cooling rack. sprinkle salt on each slice and let it sit for at least 30 minutes or longer. This step is important in reducing the bitterness as well as removing excess water so that it can crisp up easier. After your eggplant has sweat all it can sweat, blot off the excess water with paper towel.
Prep: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Season Eggplant: Lay each slice in a single layer on the baking sheet and, using a brush, coat each one with olive oil (don’t be stingy on the oil). Sprinkle the top with salt, pepper, and herbs. Flip them over and do the same to the other side.
Cook: Bake for 10 minutes, take them out of the oven, flip them over, then bake for another 10 or so minutes. Depending on how thick your slices are you may need to cook them longer to get the desired crispiness and potentially flip them over yet again. Also, be sure to keep a close eye on them while they’re baking and remove or relocate slices that are getting too brown—the last thing you want to be doing is choking down charred eggplant seeing as the whole reason for this recipe is to make eggplant more desirable to the palate.
I hope you enjoy these crispy, do-not-taste-like-eggplant eggplant chips as much as I do!
Note: I had some wilting basil that was about to throw itself in the compost if I didn’t use it immediately and made a batch of pesto (pictured) for dipping my chips. This combination was amazeballs and I realize that I could have even brushed the eggplant with it before placing in the oven! I really want to try this next time!