I ate this dish way, way too often in college. Eggplant is the mainstay food of reluctant vegetarians, because it is really very meaty and absorbs fat and seasoning well. I have taken a LOOOOOOOONG break and I am happy to report that this eggplant dish is still ridiculously easy to make and delicious even if you are not vegetarian. The eggplant has a wonderful pillowy texture and the sauce is savory perfection. I apologize for the lack of measurements, but this sauce should really be made to suit your individual taste. I like mine sweet (almost as much honey as miso) with a lot of chili oil and ginger. Another person might prefer more subtlety….so experiment!
- One or two skinny eggplants (often easier to find at Asian grocery stores)
- a generous amount of course salt
- mild oil
MISO HONEY GLAZE
- sweet white miso (Shiro miso)
- sesame oil
- chili sesame oil or hot sauce such as Siracha
- finely grated ginger
- shoyu or tamari (optional)
- mirin (optional)
- scallions for garnish (don’t skip the scallions!)
- Slice the eggplant about 1/2 inch thick. Lay them out in one layer on a clean plate or cutting board and sprinkle them generously with coarse salt. Do not worry, you eggplant won’t be too salty. The salt cause the eggplant to sweat out their bitter juices, which you will later wipe off (along with all that salt).
- While the eggplants sweat, make the sauce. I usually start with about 2 tablespoons each of miso and honey and then play around from there until I have something that I like. If you end up making too much it is useful to have around to season, well anything really. I usually blend the extra with raw carrots and use it as salad dressing myself. It would also be a good glaze for fish. Use leftover sauce for yam fries.
- Once the eggplants have started to sweat, thoroughly wipe them dry with clean towels. Flip them over and salt the other side. Let them sweat for as long as it takes you to mince the scallions. Wipe them dry on the second side.
- Pour some oil in to a small bowl. Dip each slice into the oil and tap the extra off back into the bowl. As each slice is oiled lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Broil the eggplant until it is soft and turning golden brown in spots. In my broiler, this takes 7 minutes and only the ones in the middle get those nice golden brown spots. Flip the slices over and if your broiler is uneven (like mine) move the less cooked ones into the hot spot. The second side will broil faster. In my broiler 3 minutes is enough. Take the pan out and spread each slice with a dollop of the miso sauce. Return the pan to the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes max! There should be some nice dark broiled spots on the glaze but any longer than 2 minutes risks burnt eggplant.
- Garnish the slices with minced scallions and serve them hot. I also like them cold the next day as a snack, but they are not very pretty.