Miso-Glazed Eggplant

The following recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, which I cook from regularly. Mielle Chenier Cowan Rose’s Piece of My Heart is filled with simple whole food nutritional meals that a discerning pallet will appreciate, and a picky kid would gobble up.

Did you know eggplants are sexed?  Male eggplants have less seeds, are sweeter, and have a better texture than the females. To pick out a male eggplant at the store, Mielle recommends checking the seal on the booty.  A circle indicates a female, and a male will have more of an oval or a line.

She also shares her trick for reducing the natural bitterness in eggplants: toss raw slices with salt and let stand for twenty minutes, then blot dry before cooking.

 

Yields 4-6 servings

This is awesome with rice or noodles. It will win over even the die-hard eggplant aversion.

Preheat oven to about 400 degrees.

Combine in a small bowl:

  • 2 Tbl miso
  • 1-2 tsp honey or other syrup
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbl rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbl water
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional

Set Sauce aside.

Combine in a baking dish:

  • 4 Japanese eggplants (but we recommend trying the new local eggplants from the garden!), cut into large diagonal chunks
  • Olive oil, to coat
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Roast for about 25 minutes, then stir in sauce (above) and return to oven for 5-8 minutes more.

Garnish with toasted walnuts and enjoy!

 

The Shishito Pepper

We are getting these gorgeous little emerald jewels in, which many might mistake for a padron pepper. They are similar but not the same, having a sweeter lighter flavor than their earthy counterparts.  Happy Boy Farms wrote up a little side by side on their differences here, if you are interested.

Shishito peppers taste best when they are grilled, broiled, or sauteed, just as long as they’re blistered. The sweet pepper (and perhaps one out of every 10 is surprisingly hot) mixed with the smoky gooeyness from being tossed around on the fire makes a great match. They’re great finger food, but I’ve also thrown them into a salad after cooling a bit.  Below is a basic recipe, that should take just 15 minutes to execute:

 

These directions comes from  Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes by Deborah Madison:

Heat a little olive oil in a wide sauté pan until it is good and hot but not smoking. Add the peppers and cook them over medium, tossing and turning them frequently until they blister. They shouldn’t char except in places. Don’t rush. It takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook a panful of peppers. When they’re done, toss them with sea salt and add a squeeze of fresh lemon. Slide the peppers into a bowl and serve them hot. You pick them up by the stem end and eat the whole thing, minus the stem, that is.

You can probably do fancier, cheffy things with them, but they’re terrific like this. For variety, I sometimes use a little toasted sesame oil instead of olive oil and finish them with togarashi. If you have leftovers, an unlikely event in my experience, chop off the stems and put the peppers in an omelet or some scrambled eggs.