Sunday, August 1, 2010
On my trip to Montreal last week, I went absolutely nuts over the coconut bacon-BLT that we had for lunch at Aux Vivres. I vowed, I swore I would find a way to recreate their smoky, crispy coconut bacon goodness... as it turns out, all I had to do was Google "coconut bacon" and a whole bevy of recipes popped up. I am nothing if not resourceful.
I first come across this recipe on VegWeb.com, although it seems to pop up on many different sites, including that of the Royal Bacon Society. Why the hell is there something called the Royal Bacon Society? At any rate, I'm glad that those bunch of bacon freaks managed to include a vegan recipe.
A couple notes about this recipe first - the original recipe says to bake it at 400, until it gets crisp. It doesn't say how long it will take to get crisp. A few other people who made it advised baking it at 400 for up to 30 minutes. I will tell you that the first batch I made, I put it in the oven at 400 and in 10 minutes it was burnt to a crisp. I don't think that baking pan will ever recover. So I'm printing the recipe below with the time and temperature that I used for my second batch, which came out successfully. If anything, the next time I make it, I might bake it at an even lower temperature, for a longer period of time. My suggestion for you is to just check it every 5-10 minutes or so to make sure it's not burning, and take it out of the oven when it is just crisp. It will continue to crisp as it cools.
Many of my twitter followers have been requesting this recipe, and I am very excited to share it with you, so without further ado:
makes about 3 cups (enough for 4 - 6 sandwiches, depending on how big you make 'em)
3 large handfuls of large flake, unsweetened coconut
1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
2 Tbsp. tamari
1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (optional, but recommended)
Preheat oven to 300. Place coconut in a shallow baking pan. Combine other ingredients together in a small bowl and drizzle over coconut. Use your hands to mix and make sure the coconut is evenly coated. Bake at 300 for 20 minutes, or until crisp. It will continue to crisp as it cools, and is best eaten at room temperature.
It's amazing how much this tastes like "real" bacon (although I will say that the last time I ate real bacon was probably 18 years ago). When you mix the liquid smoke, tamari, and syrup, I swear it smells just like bacon. I think it's all about the smokiness. Also, the coconut has a slight fattiness to it that really does make this feel like you're chewing on real, crispy bacon. It's almost uncanny.
The coconut bacon was begging me to put it on a BLT, so I had some fresh sourdough bread, lettuce & tomato (duh), and a generous spread of Vegenaise. This is most definitely a vegan good thing.