Growing up, my favorite soup was my mother’s eggplant miso soup. She would take thinly sliced Japanese eggplant, saute in a little sesame oil until the cut surfaces were slightly brown, and then add them to the miso broth. There was something very comforting about the fragrant miso soup punctuated by the aromatic edge of sesame oil, the meltingly soft eggplant… Recently, I’ve been trying to make this miso soup as often as possible with the bounty of Japanese eggplant available at Makinajian’s – they have deep purple, light purple, and a gorgeous chartreuse variety in eye-level bins to purchase. They are the perfect size for my girls to pick out and add to the shopping basket – keeps them occupied long enough for me to try to quickly pick up my items for the week.
I usually slice them diagonally into 1/8 inch slices (skin on), and saute them over medium heat in a little sesame oil. The slices tend to absorb a lot of oil, so I try to use just enough to keep them from sticking to my beloved cast-iron pan, flipping them often. (I use chopsticks, or a spatula)
I then put them into a bowl, and use them for various items, including miso soup, or as a simple side dish by seasoning with either soy sauce + lemon juice, ponzu, or a little Worcestershire sauce.
Multigrain onigiri with okaka filling, sesame seeds mixed with the rice
Cherry tomatoes and grapes
Agekama cut into cat shapes
Roasted beets in star shapes
Sautéed Japanese eggplant slices (in a little sesame oil), seasoned with soy sauce and lemon juice