Nobu Seafood-less Eggplant Special

One of the things I’ve been thinking about is the classic nasu dengaku – miso broiled eggplant.  I’ve had it in a lot of Japanese restaurants; but one of the issues I’ve had is that the eggplant is invariably deep-fried before the addition of the miso and the final broiling.  After the bluefish with creamy spicy sauce writeup, I was thinking about what to do with the leftover red onion creamy spicy sauce.  I then recalled the Nobu Eggplant Special but then remembered that it too was deep fried. So what to do?  I then remembered Ming Tsai’s Broiled Stuffed Eggplant with Pepper Garlic Sauce and the fact that dish was NOT deep fried.  So why not combine that technique from Simply Ming (see http://ming.com/foodandwine/recipes/season-1/broiled-stuffed-eggplant-with-pepper-garlic-sauce.htm ) with the miso and the creamy spicy sauce?

So I went over to Hong Kong Market to get the chinese/japanese eggplant (“kyo no tema wa kore des’!”).  I then prepared the eggplant by splitting it in half, lengthwise

Asian eggplant for the recipe

and then cross-scored the flesh side.

Cross scored eggplant

I then sprayed the white fleshy side with the canola oil and seasoned it with 4:1 salt/pepper mix.

Eggplant seasoned, then oiled (using canola-oil spray)

Once I had that done, I popped the eggplants flesh side down onto the baking tray rack and baked

Ready for the oven

it for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. At the end of that time I got them out of the oven (leaving the oven on).  I then turned the eggplants white flesh side up and put on a layer of the the Nobu-style saikyo miso and then a layer of the creamy spicy sauce.  Nobu mentions that the ratio of miso to creamy spicy sauce should be about 2:1.   Because this miso is NOT being used as a marinade but as a sauce, this is one of the reasons why the Nobu-style saikyo miso had to be strained/filtered to avoid that ‘chalky’ aftertaste.

Out of the oven, adding the Nobu-style Saikyo Miso (about 4 teaspoons)

Layering on the red onion creamy spicy sauce (about 4 to 5 teaspoons)

I popped the eggplants back into the oven, set it to broil and cooked them until the creamy spicy sauce topping turned a golden brown (about 6 minutes).

All done and ready to eat!

In retrospect, I think I could have shortened the baking time to  25 minutes, added the toppings and then finish broiling the eggplant for the last 6 minutes with the same result.  All in all, my wife and I were happy about the dish and happy we found a way to do this dish without having to resort to deep frying!

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