August 31, 2016 Miso Glazed Eggplant (Nasu Dengaku)
Miso glazed eggplant or nasu dengaku is a classic Japanese dish and sushi bar favorite. It’s an quick and easy preparation this time of year when eggplants are at their peak. Our garden has produced an amazing array of eggplants this summer. From fuchsia to dark purple, beautifully variegated lavender and white to pure white, they have loved our weeks of 90 degree plus temperatures and abundant rain. What we consider to be Asian eggplants are the long slim tapered varieties. Actually, Asian eggplants whether Chinese, Japanese, Thai or Indian can be round or pear shaped, pure white or lime green and as small as an egg. In this dish the creamy flesh of the eggplant is the blank canvas for the umami rich flavors of a sweet, salty and savory glaze.This recipe is quick and easy, but there are a few special ingredients you may not have on hand. Toasted sesame oil, mirin and miso are usually available at most large supermarkets. If you don’t want to buy a bottle of sake just for the two tablespoons in the recipe, substitute dry sherry. The eggplant is sliced down the middle lengthwise and the flesh is salted for a few minutes to draw out any excess moisture. While you are waiting on the eggplants, preheat your oven and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Keep the parchment in place with a little non stick spray in the four corners. Lightly brush the baking sheet with toasted sesame oil. This will prevent the eggplant from sticking and adds a rich nutty flavor to the dish.Blot the excess moisture from the eggplants and place cut side down on the baking sheet. While the eggplants are roasting, prepare the glaze. Combine mirin and sake in a very small saucepan, bring to a boil for twenty seconds, then stir in miso and sugar over low heat. Off heat stir in the additional sesame oil. The eggplants are done in about 15 minutes when the skin collapses and the flesh becomes soft Remove the eggplants from the oven and carefully turn them over, cut side up. Adjust the oven rack to it’s highest position and turn on the broiler.Brush the eggplants with the miso glaze and place under the broiler for about 1 minute, be sure to watch carefully! Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Miso Glazed Eggplant
1 lb of Japanese eggplants
1t sesame oil, plus additional for the baking sheet
1 T mirin
1 T sake
2 T white or yellow miso
1 T sugar or honey
Toasted sesame seeds
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and cut off the stem and calyx. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut an incision down the middle of each half, making sure not to cut through the skin, but cutting down to it. Salt the eggplant lightly and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and brush it with sesame oil.
Blot the eggplants with paper towels and place, cut side down, on the baking sheets. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the skin is beginning to shrivel and the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven, carefully turn the eggplants over, and preheat the broiler.
To make the glaze, combine the mirin and sake in the smallest saucepan you have and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 20 seconds, taking care not to boil off too much of the liquid, then turn the heat to low and stir in the miso and the sugar. Whisk over medium-low heat without letting the mixture boil, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sesame oil.
Brush the eggplants with all of the miso glaze. Place under the broiler, about 2 inches from the heat, and broil for about 1 minute, until the glaze begins to bubble and looks shiny. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool if desired or serve hot. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
I love to cook, garden, entertain and celebrate holidays with family and friends in Bucks County Pa. I was an off-premise caterer for over 20 years with events ranging from ten to four hundred guests.