It was time for a Super Bowl detox, which meant forgoing the fried and meaty and turning to the grilled and veggie with these Chinese eggplants with a sweet ginger-miso paste. Score a criss-cross pattern into the eggplants before they're grilled until very tender. Then spread the sweet ginger-miso mixture on top so the sauce settles into all the eggplant canyons.
Even though I pulled the eggplants off before they turned to mush, some carryover heat brought them a little on the overcooked side. I've had issues with this texture before, but I actually enjoyed it here. The eggplant and paste melded into one creamy concoction that had a nice balance between a mild miso flavor, sweetness, and a little bite from the ginger.
- Yield:4 to 6 as a side
- Active time: 40 minutes
- Total time:20 minutes
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons sake
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup shiro miso
- 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 6 Chinese eggplants, halved lengthwise
- Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- Type of fire: direct
- Grill heat: high
In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, sake, mirin, and rice vinegar until sugar is dissolved. Add shiro miso and ginger and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
In another small bowl, combine vegetable and sesame oils. Score the flesh side of eggplants in a cross-cross pattern every 1/2 an inch or so. Brush each piece of eggplant all over with the oil mixture.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill eggplants, flesh side down, over high heat until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and continue to grill until very tender, 3 to 5 minutes more.
Place the eggplants, flesh side up, on a platter. Spread each half with about 1 tablespoon of the ginger-miso paste. Sprinkle lightly with toasted sesame seed and serve immediately.