Eggplant can be a confronting vegetable to tackle for the un-initiated. Using a bbq helps to create a level playing field for cooks of all skill levels and really gives the eggplant a delicious charry effect, whilst the miso imparts a beautiful umame element to the dish.
This is alot like a Japanese dish called Nasu Dengaku.
I’ve used a combination of black and roasted white sesame seeds, pounded with a little salt in a mortar and pestle, to add a wonderful nutty component. And spring onions because it’s no bbq without onions. Right?
Half an eggplant served with a little brown rice and a steamed green is easily enough for one person.
The variety of eggplant used here is called Angela. The flesh is thick and firm and not too bitter, perfect for this cooking style. Avoid the long, thin Lebanese variety, they are all seeds and bitter as fuck and better suited elsewhere.
Cooking time -30 minutes Prep Time – 30 minutesIngredients
2 small-medium eggplants – split down the centre
1 bunch spring onions
2 tbsp white sesame
1 tbsp black sesame
1 tbsp fine salt
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c. Pre-heat your clean bbq grill to a medium heat.
Rub the flesh side of your eggplant with the salt. Set aside in a strainer for 25 minutes. Trim the spring onions of any roots and cut away the green stems.
Roast the white sesame on a baking tray for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Combine with the black sesame and a little salt. Grind in a mortar until coarse.Rinse the eggplant well and pat dry with some kitchen towel. Brush the flesh side of the eggplants with olive oil. Lay them flesh side down on the bbq and cook for about 25 minutes, giving them a quarter turn from time to time and a brush with more olive oil. If they are darkening too quickly, adjust the heat accordingly. The flesh needs to be soft.Turn them over and cook on the skin side for 5 minutes, cooking your spring onions on the bbq at the same time.
Serve.Sauce – Makes enough for 4 people. This can be made whilst the eggplants are cooking.
1 heaped tbsp white miso paste
1 tbsp Japanese or light soy
1 tbsp mirin
1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp water
Simmer and stir gently until well combined. Let cool to room temp.
Serve the eggplants with a couple of the spring onions, a good smear of sauce and a scattering of sesame seeds.Chefs Notes
*Always wash your vegetables before you begin preparation.
*Choose eggplants that are firm and plump with a shiny, smooth skin.
*The green stems from the spring onions can be reserved and used elsewhere.
*Salting the eggplants extracts some bitterness. Cooking them thoroughly should take care of the rest.
*Eggplants are high in B vitamins amongst others.