Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Purple Pleasure

I saw some beautiful, deep purple Japanese eggplant at the Farmers' Market and couldn't resist buying them. I love eggplant whether its Trader Joe's eggplant hummus or eggplant parmigiana. I particularly love the delicate flavor of Japanese eggplant, which is often used in tempura, but I've never done anything with it myself.

When I got home I tried an epicurious.com recipe for Eggplant Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing. My first batch was a disappointment - the dressing was too oily and a little heavy on the sweet miso paste. It was also desperately crying out for some salt. So here's what I did instead:

Miso Eggplant
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp miso
1 tsp fresh basil, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced

3 Japanese or Asian eggplants, sliced lengthwise in 1/2-inch strips
olive oil

To make the dressing, combine vinegar, peanut oil, soy sauce, miso, basil, ginger and garlic in a bowl and whisk until emulsified.

Heat grill pan. Brush eggplant slices with olive oil then place on grill, cooking about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from grill and cut at an angle into pieces about two inches wide, then lightly toss in a bowl with dressing.

I ate the eggplant with basmati rice, but it could easily be served as a cold salad over Asian rice noodles.

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