an easy raw and delicious vegan aubergine (or eggplant) bacon

I’ve often thought of the aubergine as the white elephant of the raw food world. Purple, plump and glossy, it holds so much promise but there is very little that can be done with it to ensure it is remotely palatable when consumed raw.

However, when I was in California, I learned to make a raw aubergine bacon (or eggplant bacon as it is known there). My version here is more European than American but every bit as delicious.

The practice of salting aubergines is to remove their bitterness. Though it is true that most of the bitterness is bred out of the aubergines, salting serves to soften them and draw out the moisture too. Please do not be tempted to omit this step as it helps the aubergine to drink up the marinade.

You can serve the club verrine plain or with a simple olive oil, lemon and basil dressing.

I love a verrine. It comes from the French word ‘verre’ meaning ‘glass’. Verrines are typically layered and served in a drinking glass. It has all of the contents on show, and because of this it’s important to be really neat in the delivery in terms of knife skills and presentation.

Making verrines is just one element of my Level Two Raw Chef Certificate, Taste, which focusses on developing food for entertaining and fine dining. If you want to learn to take your raw food skills up a level or two as part of your business or simply for entertaining family and friends, then this could well be for you. Approved by The Vegetarian Society, the programme helps you create a fine dining supper for 6, for 12 and a pop up dining event for 30. However, you do need to pass an entrance test or have taken part in Level One, Feast, first.

It’s raining outside and seems odd to be writing about a club verrine in such cold and miserable weather. Dawn took this photo when we went to stay at Marina’s place in Spain and I have been waiting for an opportunity to share it. When Hazel from Barbados wrote to me in search of a raw recipe for aubergine, I thought it to be the perfect occasion.

This recipe will serve four people.

Aubergine Bacon
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 aubergine (eggplant)
  • 3 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon mesquite (Peruvian carob)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons water
Method
  1. Thinly slice the aubergine and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Leave to sit for an hour to draw out the moisture.
  3. Rinse well to remove the salt and squeeze the aubergines to remove any excess liquid.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and immerse the sliced aubergines.
  5. Leave to marinade for 6 hours.
  6. Place on Teflex sheets and dehydrate at 115F for 24 hours. Remove from the Teflex and place directly onto the mesh screen for a further 24 hours.
 
Club Verrine
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe avocado, skinned and pitted
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, finely diced and seeds removed
  • 1 red pepper (bell pepper), finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced shallot
  • 1 few Batavia lettuce leaves
Dressing
  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, fine chiffonade
  • Salt and pepper
Method
  1. Using a melon baller, create spheres from the avocado flesh, or fine dice it.
  2. Combine the avocado with the diced tomato, pepper, Batavia and shallot.
  3. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the salad.
  4. Spoon into four glasses.
  5. Finish with a shard of aubergine bacon in the side of the glass.