japanese series part 3

Ah, the farmer's market. I love walking around with my family and being inspired by what's available each week. Most weeks I buy some shiitake mushrooms and eggplant first, and then wander. And when it comes to eggplant, I'm generally drawn to Japanese eggplant. But this week I was inspired by this beautiful variety of baby eggplant.
With such beautiful, delicate little eggplant, I wanted to showcase their texture and flavor by keeping it simple. My favorite way to eat eggplant is with a simple ginger and soy sauce dressing. Because this recipe only has 3 ingredients, it's really important to start with quality ingredients. Avoid soy sauce with added ingredients like sugar, and don't use dried ginger. Ginger is a lot easier to grate if it's frozen, and because it spoils quickly, I keep mine in the freezer all the time. And if you can find Japanese eggplant, do a little happy dance and buy it. You'll probably have to go to an Asian market to find it, unless you have an impressively stocked grocery store. Your typical globe eggplant is a little too bitter for this recipe.

When it comes to cooking it through, there really aren't any short cuts. A properly cooked eggplant is buttery and rich, an undercooked eggplant is spongy and bitter. Don't be impatient. Trust me, I've made this mistake;)

fresh ginger eggplant
serves 4 as a side dish
8~12 small eggplant
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon good quality soy sauce
neutral tasting oil for frying

  1. Clean eggplant, cut off the tops, and cut each eggplant in half lengthwise. In a small bowl, combine the ginger and soy sauce.
  2. Heave a large skillet, grill pan, or on a grill, to medium heat. Brush the cut side of the eggplant with the oil. Arrange the eggplant, cut side down, in a single layer on the skillet. If it doesn't fit, do it in batches. Cover, and let it cook through. The skin will wrinkle a little and the flesh will be tender all the way through.
  3. Place the eggplant cut side up on a serving platter, and drizzle the soy sauce/ginger mixture over the top and serve.

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