Japanese eggplant was selling at Lincolnwood Produce for an obscenely low price a couple weeks back, and as I often do, I bought perhaps a bit too much of it with grand plans that, of course, never came to fruition. Next thing you know a week's gone by and what were once beautiful, shiny purple fruits have begun to whither in the vegetable "crisper." I wanted to make a dish that would use it all up at once. I was also in a bit of a hurry. I also didn't feel like chopping garlic and onions. I've been chopping a lot of garlic and onions lately. I guess that sort of goes with the territory of cooking--most things.
At any rate, this dish contains a whopping four ingredients, and once the somewhat lengthy process of browning the eggplants is over, the rest comes together in seconds. Literally. What you're left with is salty-sweet, melty pieces of eggplant that are delicious both hot and at room temperature. Some crispy tofu, steamed rice, and something green and leafy and you've got a very good-for-you and delicious dinner.
This is the kind of recipe that doesn't require exact measurement and has a lot to do with your personal taste as far as how much sweet and salt you like. In general, a tablespoon of miso and about four of mirin is sufficient for 6-8 long, Japanese eggplants.
Slice the eggplant in half, lengthwise. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough olive oil to coat the pan. Cook the eggplant cut side down until light brown. Turn over and continue to cook until the eggplant is very soft. You may have to do this in two batches, adding more oil for the second batch of eggplant.
While the eggplant is cooking, dissolve the miso in a little warm water. I used the mild white miso here, but any variety would work. When all of the eggplant is soft, pour the miso and water over the eggplant and tilt the pan to coat everything. Turn up the heat, add the mirin, and cook just a few seconds more until syrupy.
Serve hot, or at room temperature.