Aug 6, 2008

Miso Sake Eggplant

The inspiration for this dish comes from a Japanese restaurant in Portland where we had dinner last New Year's Eve. Our friend in Portland, J, declared the restaurant's miso eggplant appetizer was her favorite food item - anywhere. After tasting it I believed her. It was amazing. When we returned home I started fiddling around with the ingredients to try to replicate it. I never got it exactly the same but I've had fun trying. In the meantime I added my own twist on the idea.

It's quick and makes a great appetizer. Add it to noodles or on top of rice for a main dish.

12 oz. Japanese eggplant, sliced on the bias about 1/2 inch thick
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp miso (I happened to have aha miso so this is what I use)
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp fish sauce
juice of half a small lime

In a large bowl, combine miso, mirin, fish sauce, sake and lime juice. Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan over a relatively low heat and keep an eye on them. Shake the pan often. The slightest coloring is your clue to remove them from the heat.

Even with the eggplant sliced only half an inch thick, I like to give it a quick steam until just tender. I've tried tossing raw eggplant into the hot oil but it got way too dark by the time it was tender. Sometimes I like to make this dish with nice thick slices of eggplant and then I have to steam it first.

Whether you steam the eggplant or not, make sure you toss them into hot oil (2 tablespoons). Know the smoking point of the oil you are using. If you drop eggplant into oil that isn't hot enough, all your oil will immediately disappear into that eggplant.

Fry the eggplant, getting a nice color on each side. I do this by tossing the eggplant into the hot oil and immediately tossing to coat. Let them sit for a few minutes and really sizzle to form some browning. Toss again and let it sizzle again. Once you've got that nice golden color, immediately empty the pan into the large bowl containing the miso mix. Toss to coat and return the eggplant the hot pan to sear that miso. Again, toss the eggplant then let sit but this time not as long. You can even lower the heat a littl bit. Let each side get some carmelization (should only take a few minutes total) then sprinkle with the sesame seeds and toss one more time to incorporate the seeds. Serve immediately.

Miso Sake Eggplant

The inspiration for this dish comes from a Japanese restaurant ...

See Miso Sake Eggplant on Key Ingredient.


stet said...

YUM. I would dig this. It's making my mouth water and now I am hungry.

vb said...

Go make this, stet. You'll need plenty of water afterwards because it's salty. But soooooo good.


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