If I can say one thing for Passover, it’s that I end up trying a bunch of new recipes to avoid eating the concrete Hell known as matzoh. Tonight it was Japanese food, thanks to a picture in Kimiko Barber’s The Japanese Kitchen. I’ve been wanting the miso eggplant in there for weeks. And tonight, finally, with some teriyaki chicken* (just in case we didn’t like the new eggplant), it came to be.
I don’t know why we waited so long. The salty miso topping, the crisp eggplant skin, the creamy eggplant flesh–it’s all so good! If you don’t use miso paste, or don’t know what it is, get ye to an Asian market and pick up a container. It’s very cheap, it lasts for months, and I can’t think of a Japanese dish it doesn’t add to. For vegetarians, it adds that umami flavor that so few non-meats can provide.
Miso Eggplant (serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side) recipe adapted from The Japanese Kitchen by Kimiko Barber
2 Japanese eggplants
4 T miso paste
2 egg yolks
3 T mirin
2 T honey (or sugar, if you like)
Oil, for frying
Combine miso paste, yolks, mirin, and honey in a bowl and stir until smooth and creamy. Turn the oven on to broil, you’ll be needing it in about ten minutes.
Chop the eggplants into 1 inch slices, discarding the ends.
Heat oil in a deep pan or wok and fry the eggplant slices for 3-5 minutes.
Drain the fried eggplant on paper towels, then arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a spoon to dribble the miso mix on top of the slices in little piles.
Bake under the broiler for about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven just as the miso mixture begins to blacken in spots.
Serve with teriyaki chicken and steamed green vegetables of some kind. I forgot to cook greens, and it made me sad. Everything else, though, was brilliant.
*Okay, some Jews don’t eat soy sauce, therefore teriyaki, during Passover. I agree that it makes sense to avoid most soy sauce, as it contains wheat. I found gluten-free, wheat-free soy sauce, and that’s what I used. Some Jews still wouldn’t eat it during Passover. They’re worried about kitniyot, which is a group of foods not forbidden for Passover in the Torah, but rabbinically forbidden later, presumably because some rabbi decided his congregation was full of morons who couldn’t tell wheat from corn or soy or even peas. This is, incidentally, the same reason chicken is considered fleishik by so many Jews; because of the possibility that they might not be able to tell the difference between poultry and beef. As I am fully capable of telling my foods apart, I follow the proscriptions laid out in the Torah, not the ones that appear to be made up later. For a longer, better elucidated explanation, check here.