In Season: Eggplant
If your only reference point for eggplant is a cheesy, saucy dish of parm, let us enlighten you: These veggies are too delicious to obscure under all that heft.
At their peak right now, there are so many different varieties of eggplants that rarely get much play. The most commonly spotted deep purple, oblong type is larger and slightly less flavorful than smaller, more delicate varieties like graffiti and Japanese eggplants, which are longer, skinnier, and fairer in color.
We prefer picking up a few of these milder, sweeter eggplants to re-create one of our favorite Japanese dishes at home, slicing them down the center and brushing them with miso paste to add a punchy, briny flavor to the velvety texture of the creamy flesh. This recipe nails the mix of sweet and sour that love about miso, with the addition of a subtle crunch thanks to a sprinkle of sesame seeds and scallions.
6 Japanese eggplants (1 1/2 lb. total), cut on a diagonal into 1-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon grapeseed or vegetable oil
1/3 cup white miso (fermented soybean paste)
4 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons sesame seeds, divided
3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, divided