Ever wonder why those deep purple shiny vegetables drooping off the vine are called “eggplant”? Turns out the early varieties were white and yellow and did in fact look like an egg. What you may be finding in your garden now are the narrow long purple Japanese eggplant or the more rounded European varieties.
Eggplant’s unique color boasts of phytonutrients, special plant nutrients including anti-oxidants that help protect our cells, especially in our brain. This is quite contrary to the folklore that eggplant caused a person to go insane due to its relation in the “deadly” nightshade family. Its spongy interior makes it easy to soak up the flavor of many different cuisines. Have fun with this miso glazed eggplant, a traditional Japanese dish called Nasu Dengaku.
This sauce can be enjoyed on any kind of grilled veggie, fish or firm tofu. Make a double batch of sauce and have it ready the next time you grill.
4 small eggplants
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese sake-based flavoring)
1 tablespoon cooking sake
3 tablespoon white miso
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon water
Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Score a criss-cross pattern about ¼ inch deep to help the sauce absorb into the eggplant when cooked.
Brush the eggplant surface with oil and place onto a grill, or broil in the oven until the tops are evenly dark brown and soft all the way through.
Make the miso sauce: combine sugar, mirin, sake, miso, ginger, sesame oil and water.
Brush on the miso sauce on the cut side of the eggplant and put it back on the grill or in the oven for about 3 minutes to soak in the flavor. Be careful not burn the sauce.