Yesterday, I raided my garden and pantry for what turned out to be one of the tastiest and easiest dishes I’ve made in a while. It was all the more stunningly easy because of its main flavor: bacon. Yep. Completely non-messy, completely crispy, completely delicious. If you start with bacon from pastured hogs (which has a naturally lower fat content – and, by the way, that fat is mostly monoUNsaturated fat – and is not injected with spray-out-of-the-pan-inducing brine the way commercial bacon is), all you need is a wire rack, a baking sheet, and an oven to make perfectly crispy and light bacon. Hands-off bacon, that is! Couldn’t be simpler.
Besides, if you’re going to turn on the oven to roast some veggies, you might as well slip a tray of bacon onto the third rack. Then you can go outside and relax on the front porch while your meal makes itself. Just remember to bring a timer outside with you! Good-quality, lean bacon is too good to burn.
Roasted Potato & Eggplant with Bacon
Serves 2 for lunch
4 strips of bacon, preferably from Applegate Farms or another company selling bacon from pastured hogs
8 to 10 smallish finger-shape potatoes (I used purple fingerlings)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
2 small eggplants (the fresher, the better; eggplants get bitter as they age), top stem removed
Chives, snipped with kitchen shears or minced
Preheat oven to 375F and make sure you have three racks ready to accommodate your baking sheets. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Line another sheet or tray with aluminum foil and set a wire rack on top of the foil.
Lay the bacon strips out over the wire rack, spacing them equally apart. Cut the potatoes into quarters or wedges and pile them onto a baking sheet. Drizzle them with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss them well and spread them out on the sheet. Cut the eggplant in half and then into rounds (they’ll look like half moons). Drizzle them with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss and spread them out on the other baking sheet.
Bake bacon, potatoes, and eggplant for 15 minutes. Check to see if the eggplant is golden brown and shriveled – it probably will be. Pull out the eggplant and let the potatoes and bacon continue to bake for another 10 minutes. The potatoes will be golden brown and crispy on the edges when done; the bacon will be sizzling and dark brown (but not blackening!). Note: if you use conventional bacon, you’ll have to cover it with foil to prevent the fat from erupting in your oven and making a mess. Stick with pastured bacon, and you’ll have amazingly crisp and delicious bacon with nary a drop spilled.
Let potatoes and bacon cool for a few minutes, then toss potatoes with eggplant and chives. Crumble bacon and scatter it over the veggies. Serve immediately.
Courtesy ofÂ Cultured Cook.
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Â© Copyright 2011 Â Allison Stuart Kaplan Â www.Askinyourface.com LLC