'tis the season for japanese eggplant. so pretty. so meltingly tender. and served with this sweet-ish miso sauce, so very tasty. this sauce can be served over just about any vegetable. i like it with green beans, asparagus, even tofu, the fried, seared and raw varieties. try it, you'll see what i'm talking about. so without further adieu, here it is, for you good time sentimental happy taste memory.
5-6 small japanese eggplants
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons mirin
1 Tablespoon sake
1-4 Tablespoons dashi
2 1/2 Tablespoons light miso (smaller amount if using a darker, saltier miso)
sesame seed oil
you can prepare the eggplant in one of two ways: either grilled/broiled or cut into rings and sauteed. if you want to retain the shape of the eggplant, as pictured, cut each eggplant in half, brush with sesame seed oil, and broil or grill until tender. while the eggplant is grilling prepare the sauce.
if you choose not to broil/grill the eggplant simply cut into one inch rings. you may also make this dish using the larger variety (globe) of eggplant but be sure to peel most of the skin off, cut into 1 inch cubes, salt and drain in a colander, rinsing before cooking. this is important unless you (1) like a salt lick, or (2) seeking a high blood pressure related heart attack, or (3) really want to bloat up until you can't button up your pants. heat a frying pan and add 1-2 Tablespoons sesame seed oil. add eggplant and saute until tender, adding a bit of water now and then if necessary. when i am feeling gross and in need of avoiding oil, i "steam fry" my eggplant with small additions of water now and then.
mix the sugar, mirin, sake, miso and dashi (or water) together in a small bowl and add directly to the frying pan. continue cooking until the sauce thickens slightly. remove from heat and serve.
if you've broiled your eggplant, place the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat until boiling. simmer for just a few minutes until the sauce thickens slightly and carmelizes a bit. remove from heat and pour over prepared eggplants.
garnish with minced green onion for extra prettiness.