For the longest time, I would have insisted that I despised eggplant.
Oddly enough, this wasn’t due to any adverse experience on my part. My family never ate eggplant growing up, and due to the aforementioned belief on my part, I never actually tried eggplant until just a few years ago. However, I once, long before I ever met Son, dated a guy who would eat just about anything… except for eggplant. Thusly, I was convinced it was a disgusting, vile vegetable that no person in their right mind would consume by choice.
Oh, what a poor, naive, misguided girl I was.
As with any vegetable (or food, really), it’s all in the preparation. And, to my good fortune, the first time I actually ever was presented with an opportunity to try eggplant, it was at a local Japanese restaurant – and it was fantastic.
(Also highly recommended, Chinese braised eggplant. This shall be my next eggplant project.)
Ever since then, I’ve wanted to replicate it at home. But I always get a little nervous when venturing into new recipes, with new ingredients I have no experience with. So… I procrastinated. For… er… almost exactly three years.
Quite often, a little push from an external source is the best way to get me to stop procrastinating on something. Such was the case here. As mentioned before, the newest addition to our family gatherings is my brother’s girlfriend, who is vegan – which has been an excellent excuse to expand my repertoire of delicious vegan dishes!
However, please promise me that you won’t procrastinate on making this for as long as I did! Because my goodness, this dish is so easy to make, and so delicious, it’s just plain embarrassing to admit that I was intimidated by it for so long. From start to finish it took less than half an hour to prepare, and it was such a success that there’s no doubt I’ll be cooking it again very soon.
Recipe slightly adapted from Daisy’s World.
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp sake
- 1/4 cup shiro miso
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 4 Japanese eggplants, stemmed and split in half lengthwise
- vegetable oil, as needed to coat eggplant
- 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- green onions, sliced
- Preheat broiler to high heat.
- Combine mirin, sake, miso, sugar, and sesame oil in a small bowl and mix until well-combined. Taste to adjust seasoning. Set aside.
- Score eggplant slices in a cross-hatch pattern. If desired, cut each eggplant slice into two or three smaller pieces, for easier serving. Brush each piece with vegetable oil until lightly coated all-over. Broil eggplant, cut-side down, for about 5 minutes. Turn over and continue to cook until almost tender, about 3–4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and brush the miso glaze on the cut surface of the eggplant, then place on a broiler pan, cut-side up. Broil until completely cooked and the glaze has caramelized. This could take anywhere from 3-10 minutes (mine took closer to 10 minutes), so keep an eye on it so it browns nicely but doesn’t burn.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.