From: Japanese Cooking A Simple Art
by Shizuo Tsuji
- 4-6 small Japanese eggplants,
- or 2 medium eggplants
- vegetable oil
- red and/or white dengaku miso topping
- white poppy seeds
- kinome springs
- toasted white sesame seeds
- toasted black sesame seeds
Wash and dry small eggplants. Leave stems on if eggplants are really tiny, but remove calyx and stem if regular small size and cut in half lengthwise. Cross-score cut surface to keep topping from slipping off. If using larger American eggplant, cut crosswise into rounds ¾ inch (2 cm) thick.
Brush both flesh and skin of eggplant halves lightly with salad oil to keep vegetable from becoming hard and tough over heat. Pierce each half eggplant cross-wise with two skewers, if grilling. The eggplant may also be pan-fried in scant oil over high heat or deep-fried.
Grill, broil, pan-fry, or deep-fry until tender, turning once. Apply topping to cut side, as shown; add garnish. Serve immediately. If grilling, you may return miso-topped eggplant to heat for toasting.
On our trip to the Farmers’ Market last week, and we showed enough restraint not to buy more than we’d use in a week. The eggplant in the picture above are much larger than the very small Japanese eggplants I bought, but by the time I bought them my hands were too full to take more pictures. We grilled the eggplants on the hibachi, in the dark—it’s getting dark too much earlier again—and some of them were overcooked. Also, if you study the picture of the plated nasu dengaku, note that I applied quite a bit more sauce than needed on them. Try the recipe but use a lighter hand.