Burger Toppings Week: Japanese Miso-Eggplant Burger With Fresh Pickles

A slab of tender roasted, miso-glazed eggplant tops these juicy burgers. Vicky Wasik

My burger toppings week is starting to feel like a trip around the world. I started in Italy with a burger topped with a deconstructed amatriciana sauce. Then I jogged on over to Mexico—Puebla, to be more specific—for a cemita burger. Holy cow! Yesterday, I hit New Yawk City with the Reuben burger (or Omaha, Nebraska, depending on whom you ask...phsaw, Nebraska, sure, and I'm Barry Manilow!)

Anyway, today we fly to Japan, for a burger topped with miso-glazed eggplant and pickled cucumber slices. Plus a little mayo (Kewpie, if you want to keep it legit), and some sriracha, just because.

For the eggplant, I borrowed from Kenji's recipe for grilled miso-glazed eggplant (nasu no dengaku), but instead of grilling the eggplant, I roasted it until tender. I also used globe eggplants instead of Japanese, since cross-sections would give me perfect burger-sized rounds. A quick trip under the broiler helps caramelize the glaze. The eggplant is so tender, it almost acts like a creamy topping, which is kind of cool.

Then for some contrasting, fresh crunch, I turned to Kenji's recipe for quick-pickled cucumbers, and made a few tweaks. The original cukes have a nice sweet-tart balance that makes them perfect on their own, but since the miso glaze on the eggplant is already sweet, I cut some of the sugar in the pickles to help balance that sweetness instead of adding to it.

Set atop English muffins, it's a squishy, juicy, tender burger, with great savory-sweet Japanese flavors.

As for tomorrow's country? You'll just have to wait and see...jusqu'à la prochaine fois. Oops, I think I just blew the suspense.