Monday, April 12, 2010

Spicy Glazed Eggplant

I thoroughly enjoy the idea of vegetables.  I don't always enjoy eating them, but I think some of them are seriously delicious when prepared well.  Asian eggplant is one of those vegetables that I find especially delicious when prepared well.  It can be incredibly savory - umami if you will.  I also find that it's hearty enough that I rarely miss meat when I'm eating eggplant, which is advantageous when you're trying to eat vegetarian once or twice a week.  I could never forgo meat entirely, but roughly once a week I really like a huge serving of vegetables.

This recipe for Spicy Glazed Eggplant has been on my radar for a little while as quick and easy midweek vegetarian meal.  When I say quick and easy I am ignoring the 45 minutes that the eggplant sits in a colander in the sink after you slice it and sprinkle it with salt.  Ignoring that 45 minutes, the eggplant really only takes 10 minutes from start to finish - you really can't beat that.  And it's tasty (although I think that calling it spicy is a misnomer because I didn't think it was spicy at all).  Look at it this way.  You can slice your eggplant and throw it in a colander right when you get home, then you can change into sweats and lounge on the couch, or go to spin class like I did this evening, and then come home and whip up a quick meal.  Granted, you should stir the eggplant a few times while it's resting in the colander to ensure that the salt draws out the moisture evenly, but I won't tell if you won't.  If you're feeling more ambitious you could serve this as a wonderful side dish to an Asian meal and prepare the main course and the rice while the eggplant sits in the colander.  I think pork would make a wonderful accompaniment.  No pressure though!

Recipe after the jump!

Spicy Glazed Eggplant
May 2008

1 lb. Asian eggplants (about 4), trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ginger, peeled and finely grated (use a Microplane)
1/8 tsp Japanese seven-spice powder (sometimes labeled "shichimi togarashi"), or to taste
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp chives, finely chopped

Toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt and drain in a colander, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes.

Rinse eggplant under cold water and dry well, pressing out any excess moisture.

Stir together mirin, soy sauce, ginger, and seven-spice powder.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté eggplant until browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in mirin mixture and cook, gently stirring and turning frequently, until sauce becomes a glaze and eggplant is browned and tender, about 1 minute.

Serve hot or at room temperature, sprinkled with chives.

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