Aren’t aubergines just one of the most tasty and versatile things ever? Time to really make the most of them as we come to the end of the season and they get expensive again.
I started working on this recipe after I made the roasted halves of aubergine for the aubergine and walnut salsa recipe, and I think it is my new favourite way to cook them. This isn’t the traditional Japanese nasu dengaku as I haven’t used any sugar, but sweetened it with mirin and agave nectar. The end result isn’t as caramelised, but I think it is still really tasty. This also isn't a replacement recipe for my previous Korean-style aubergines poached in miso, it is just different.
- 1 medium aubergine, sliced in half lengthways right through the stalk. (Use smaller aubergines for this recipe, as the bigger ones won’t cook properly all the way through before the top burns. I think the smaller ones also get a bit sweeter and juicier.)
- Flavourless oil
- Course sea/rock salt (I grind pink Himalayan salt rocks in a mortar and pestle) and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tbsp mirin
- ½ tbsp sake (or use more mirin)
- 1 tbsp agave nectar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- Spring onions, green and white parts finely sliced into rounds
The oven I was using doesn’t have exact temperatures, so I’m no sure exactly what temperature I have been making this at, other than ‘hot’. Probably stick your oven on 190-200 centigrade and I think that would be ok.
Score the aubergine halves in a narrow criss-cross pattern – ending up with diamond shapes with roughly 1 – 1.5 cm sides. You can make them smaller than that if you want to, just be careful that the knife doesn’t pierce the skin out the back of the aubergine half. Brush them with oil and sprinkle with the salt and grind some pepper over them. Roast the aubergines (cut side up) for 30-45 minutes, until they are cooked through, the diamond shapes have separated out, and the flesh is a dark golden colour. Take them out of the oven but keep the oven on for the next stage.
While the aubergines are in the oven, mix the miso with the mirin, sake, agave, sesame oil and rice vinegar with a tablespoon of hot water until fully incorporated. You could, I suppose warm everything together in a saucepan without having to use hot water, but to be honest I can rarely be bothered to get another pan dirty if I don’t have to.
Spoon the miso sauce over the cut surface of the aubergines after they have finished roasting. Do it generously enough that it fills the grooves around the diamonds, but not so that it is completely swamped. Sprinkle the surface with sesame seeds, and put the whole thing back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Serve this scattered with spring onions, and with warm sushi or jasmine rice, and any remaining sauce for drizzling.