miso grilled eggplant
Apparently there is a pattern to the summer posts here: rhubarb something, salad, corn salad, a gardening post, a summertime memory, another corn salad, etc. (or something close to that). We can thank Jonathon for unearthing that amazing piece of info - I only wish you could have heard how funny he found it - he claims it repeats every summer. He also points out that there is a dearth of summer protein options. I don't know that I really believe him about the pattern but he is right about the protein. I answered that we eat salads most days and just throw something on the BBQ if we want to add more protein. Summer food is meant to be easy and light - at least that is what feels right to me. Tonight we had something that was light and easy and more interesting than a grilled sausage or chicken breast. This is not in response to the request (yes, it was a formal request) that I include one or two more ideas for summer protein but it does answer it all the same.
The idea began with a recipe I saw for a vegetarian main dish of BBQ'ed eggplant. The recipe reminded me of mabo nasu and got me thinking of a summer version - pared down, simple and on the grill. That is just what this is. David declared it a make-again. The picture ain't pretty but the meal was too good to not share for such a paltry reason as that.
Since the bbq was hot and we needed to add something green to the meal, I tossed some broccoli and asparagus spears with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper, then grilled them for a few minutes to round things out. Like I said - light and easy.
I have recently started keeping my fresh ginger root in the freezer. (I used to do that but stopped ages ago for a reason that entirely escapes me now.) Anyway, Hannah reminded me how brilliant it is and she is right. One always has fresh - as opposed to shrivelled or nasty - ginger root when one needs it and it is much easier to grate when it is frozen. I also never-ever peel ginger. Nobody complains or even notices.
miso grilled eggplant
4 Tbsp mirin
3 Tbsp red miso paste
1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 tsp toban djan
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp roasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
sea salt to taste
4 green onions, sliced (green parts reserved)
2 Japanese eggplants
Preheat the BBQ to medium.
Combine the mirin and miso paste in a small bowl. Set aside.
Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Make shallow cross-hatch cuts on the eggplant cut surfaces. Brush with 2 Tbsp of the miring/miso mixture. Oil the BBQ grill and grill the eggplant cut side down for 5 minutes then flip and continue grilling for 6 - 8 minutes longer, or until tender.
Meanwhile, in a skillet on the stove quickly brown the ground beef with the white parts of the sliced green onions. Add the toban djan, soy sauce, ginger and remaining miring/miso mixture. Cook for a minute to warm through and add the sesame oil. When the eggplant is done on the grill, plate it and top with the ground beef mixture. Garnish with the reserved green onion slices.