Miso is one of my favorite flavors. Sure, fermented soy beans don’t sound like they’d be good, but who can resist a steaming bowl of miso soup or salad dressed with bright, flavorful miso dressing? Typically I use miso when cooking fish – there isn’t a sea creature out there that doesn’t benefit from a nice coating of miso – but this time I used it in a vegetarian preparation. I simply mixed it with a little sesame oil and mirin to thin it ever so slightly and slathered it on slices of tofu and eggplant before broiling it (this would be just wonderful on the grill too).
My husband reminded me that he’s not actually crazy about eggplant (how do I always forget that?) but then declared that he could eat this miso eggplant every day. And night. It was that good. The miso almost caramelizes under the heat, creating an umami-rich coating that is just packed with savory flavor. It is the embodiment of savory. Rice makes a nice accompaniment.
Miso paste has become more and more readily available. In the States I know for a fact they have it at Whole Foods and many health food stores. In Be’er Sheva I found it at Eden, but I believe I’ve seen it in other supermarkets. I used white miso (shiromiso), in which the soybeans are fermented with rice. The result is a super savory but slightly sweet paste that is great for salads and lighter dishes. Red miso (akamiso), in which the soybeans are fermented with barley, could work as well but be forewarned that the flavor is much more concentrated so try using less or thinning it down more. You don’t want it to overpower the eggplant. (For a great mini-lesson on differentiating different types of miso look here.)
- ¼ cup white miso paste
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons Mirin
- 14-16 ounces extra firm tofu (1 package), sliced lengthwise into rectangles
- ½ large eggplant, sliced into rounds
- Preheat the broiler. In a bowl stir together the miso paste, sesame oil, and Mirin. Pat the tofu dry between paper towels. Brush the tofu and eggplant slices with the miso marinade on both sides until fully coated and transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet. Put the tofu and eggplant in the broiler and cook until the miso has caramelized slightly, flipping once. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.