Miso glazed eggplant has been one of my favorite ways to eat this particular vegetable since the first time I had it about a decade ago. The flavors are an obvious match made in heaven and the Japanese eggplant makes a perfect canvas to soak them up.
This side is perfect for entertaining, as it is easy to make a big platter in no time. It is a simple dish, but has amazing flavor.
Eggplant is a delicious vegetable, but it does need a little bit of prep work. The first step for this recipe is scoring the flesh and salting the eggplant. I’ve cross-hatched the flesh (made diagonal cuts each way to make x’s) which will allow the glaze to soak into the eggplant even more when we are finishing the miso glazed eggplant.
To Salt or Not to Salt?
I’ll be honest, most of the time, I do not salt my eggplant. Because I’m lazy and frankly, it isn’t always necessary. The reason to salt eggplant is to draw out moisture, which it has in spades. Normally, the goal isn’t to dry out our food, but in this case it is helpful.
I want the glaze to stick to my eggplant and by stick to, I mean get nice and sticky in a good way. If the eggplant has a lot of water in it, we run the risk of it getty watery and soggy. Meaning, the glaze will be watery. Not so appetizing.
Miso Glazed Eggplant
The first time I had this dish was about a dozen years ago in a tiny, nondescript Japanese restaurant in Brooklyn. It was so good, I was instantly hooked on my first bite. I’ve made it at least a few dozen times since then and I hope you’ll make it too.
The ingredients and technique are simple, but the flavor is absolutely amazing. If you can’t find the smaller, thinner Japanese eggplant, regular eggplant will do.
Normally, this dish is done in the oven, but I’ve put a summer spin on it by moving it to the grill. Grilling the eggplant gives it a smokiness that you don’t get in the oven. Which, by the way, works really well with this recipe.
Eggplant lovers, this is a dish for you. It’s also great to serve up with some rice for a meatless meal. Miso glazed eggplant is a great side for any day of the week. It’s quick, easy and so very tasty.
USED IN THIS RECIPE:
- 8 - 10 Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup white miso paste
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- small handful of cilantro or scallions for garnish
- Score flesh of eggplant and sprinkle with kosher salt. Lay cut side down on paper towel lined sheet pan. Let them sit for 45 - 60 minutes. Flip over and using clean paper towels or kitchen towel, wipe off excess salt and liquid from eggplant.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes (if using) and a tablespoon of water, if needed to loosen mixture. Set aside.
- Heat grill to medium high (450°F - 475°F). Place eggplant cut side down on grill (do not oil). Cook for 4 - 6 minutes, then turn over and cook for another 4 minutes.
- Brush miso glaze onto eggplant and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Remove from grill, sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro.
I've made this with brown miso paste when I ran out of white and it was just as tasty!