Nasu Dengaku – Miso-glazed eggplant

This recipe was adapted from
1 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons shiro miso
3 tablespoons sugar
1  eggplants, cut in half lengthwise, score in criss-cross pattern*
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
sliced green onions, for garnish     (optional)
Place the mirin and sake in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for about 2 minutes to allow some of the alcohol to cook off. Then add the miso and stir until smooth. Stir in the sugar, reduce the heat to very low, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, while you grill the eggplant.
Brush the cut sides of the eggplant with the sesame oil. Put the eggplants cut-side down on a baking sheet and place under the grill of your oven for about 3 minutes, checking often to make sure that they do not burn. Turn them over, and cook for another 3 minutes or until the tops are a light to medium brown. Do not burn! (If your eggplant still isn’t tender all the way through, turn the grill function to bake at 200˚C for a few more minutes; then proceed with the recipe.)
When the eggplants are tender, top each one with the miso sauce and put them back under the grill until the sauce bubbles up–this should take less than a minute, so watch them closely. Enjoy hot, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.
* I used a regular eggplant, but the thinness of Japanese eggplants work better with this dish because they roast faster. Also, if you score the eggplants, they’ll cook faster and the sauce will flavour even more of the flesh.

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