18 June 2009

Grilled Japanese Eggplant

Years ago, when I was living in Manhattan, a Japanese restaurant opened on the same block that I lived on. I hadn't had much Japanese food then, and rapidly got addicted to it. At the time, my favorite dish was an appetizer of Japanese eggplant with a rich sweet/savory sauce broiled on top.

Here in the Midwest, you don't see a lot of Japanese eggplant except once in a while at the Farmer's Market or at the Asian grocery store in Columbia. So, when I was in Columbia, I picked up a few eggplant for grilling.

It's been too long ago to reconstruct the sauce I used to have in Manhattan, but I developed one with a lot of flavor that can be brushed on right after grilling. It is also great on split zucchini or yellow summer squash.

Grilled Japanese Eggplant

3-4 Japanese eggplant, split in half
1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 T canola oil
1 T sesame oil
1 t soy sauce (low sodium)
1 Tbs white miso
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3/4 t grated ginger
1 t agave nectar
1 T hoisin sauce
2 oz Teese Blue Cheese, grated (optional)

Preheat the grill.
Brush the eggplant with the olive oil.
Put eggplant on the grill, cut side down. Leave several minutes without touching to get good grill marks.
While the eggplant is grilling, make the glaze. Add all the remaining ingredients except cheese to a small bowl and whisk.
Turn the eggplant cut side up and brush lightly with the glaze, two or three times.
Cook from the bottom until the eggplant are nearly cooked through.
Remove from heat, sprinkle with grated blue cheese, if desired, and serve immediately or at room temperature.

Note: the easiest way to mince garlic and ginger for a sauce like this is to grate it on your microplane, right into the bowl.

Even the dog loved the yellow squash cooked this way. She ate it with grilled broccoli and chopped tomato, and cried for more...

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