Preheat oven to 425F.
Remove the stem of the eggplant and quarter it lengthwise, making 4 even long, thin sections.
Slice each piece of the eggplant lengthwise into thin strips. (*See note below* I used a mandolin, but this step can be done carefully by hand.)
Arrange eggplant strips in a single layer on a paper towel and generously sprinkle with salt. Allow this to sit for at least 30 minutes. You’ll see the eggplant start to bead up with water. (The salt here helps to draw the water out of the eggplant, making it taste less bitter, and helping to prevent it from becoming soggy when cooking. – Clearly I’m putting my chemistry degree and my year working in an osmosis lab to good use here).
After 30 minutes, rinse off the eggplant strips to remove the salt added in the previous step and allow the strips to dry on new paper towels.
Brush each strip with olive oil, and arrange in a single layer on a well-greased pan (I used a silpat liner and it worked perfectly).
Cook eggplant strips for 14 minutes, flipping half way through.
Remove the strips from the oven and reduce the heat to 350F
Allow the strips to cool while preparing the marinade.
Prepare the marinade by combining balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, tamari, olive oil, liquid smoke, salt, paprika, black pepper and chili powder in a bowl.
Line a cookie sheet with foil, and place a baking rack over it. (The foil is optional, but it certainly makes for an easier clean up).
Dip each strip of eggplant in the marinade and place strips in a single layer on the baking rack.
Bake at 350F for 12 more minutes, or until the strips are nice and crispy.(Cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your strips)
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Enjoy along side a tofu scramble, or a delicious BLT.