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Miso-Glazed Grilled Asian Eggplant

Ginger, garlic and green onions are fundamental ingredients in Asian cooking. Together they provide a flavor base onto which other ingredients—here, savory miso, spicy pepper sauce and tart rice vinegar—can be layered. Slender Asian eggplant, cut lengthwise, offers an exposed surface into which the miso basting sauce can be absorbed and the smoke from the grill can penetrate.

Ingredients:

  • One 1/4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup white miso
  • 1/2 tsp. hot red-pepper sauce such as Sriracha
  • 2 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. mirin
  • 1 Tbs. water
  • 4 Asian eggplants, cut in half lengthwise
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper for sprinkling
  • Canola oil for brushing
  • 3 green onions, cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices

Directions:

In a blender, combine the ginger, garlic, miso, pepper sauce, vinegar, sugar, mirin and water. Blend to form a smooth puree.

Sprinkle the eggplant halves lightly with salt and pepper and lightly brush all over with oil.

About 15 minutes before you plan to serve the eggplant, prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill.

Place the eggplant halves, cut side down, on the grill, cover the grill and cook until the flesh just starts to char and soften, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn the eggplant over and cook, covered, until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes more. Brush the cut sides of the eggplant with the miso mixture and cook, covered, until the eggplant is tender and the glaze has browned in spots, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer the eggplant to a warmed serving platter, sprinkle with the sliced green onions and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).