This miso grilled eggplant dish evokes childhood memories of exploring a rocky shoreline. The miso and seaweed bring the salty sea notes and an intense umami flavor, nicely balanced by the nutty quinoa.
Many childhood memories, and some more recent ones, involve the rocky shorelines of New Zealand. These experiences of the rich array of colorful flora and fauna living on the rocks and in the pools along the coast certainly influenced this dish.
The saltiness comes from the miso grilled eggplant. Miso is such a distinctive yet versatile ingredient. Packed with umami, it enhances the flavor of everything else. The miso and sugar caramelize on the eggplant as it is grilled. This results in soft and juicy eggplant flesh in a sweet and crisp casing.
The taste of the ocean comes from the katsuobushi, or dried bonito flakes, an ingredient in the ponzu sauce. However, if you are making a vegetarian version, this could be replaced with toasted nori. For even more of a seafood flavour, replace the vegetable stock with salmon head stock when cooking the quinoa.
Making katsuobushi is quite a process. To learn more, watch this YouTube video about where the complex umami flavors come from…
In addition to this miso grilled eggplant dish, delectabilia has other ocean-themed dishes you may want to explore. The complex satisfying flavors of ramen with a taste of the ocean is certain to satisfy. Another is the lasagna noodle with scallop and pickled seaweed.
Miso grilled eggplant with seaweed quinoa salad and ponzu dressing
Miso roasted eggplant
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup katsuboshi Replace with something like smoked kelp for a vegetarian version
- 1/2 cup karengo or nori
Miso roasted eggplant
- Cut the eggplant and red peppers into 2 cm2 pieces (approx)
- Sprinkle with salt and allow to stand for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 220 degC.
- Rinse the eggplant and peppers and allow to drain and dry for a few minutes.
- Coat with the olive oil, place on a baking tray, and roast for 20 minutes.
- Mix together the miso, sugar, sake, sesame oil, and mirin. Coat the eggplant with this mixture and return to the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The miso sauce should be starting to caramelize.
- In a saucepan, bring all the liquid ingredients to a boil then remove from the heat.
- Add the kasuboshi and karengo or wild nori.
- Allow to sit for 2 hours.
- Strain the sauce, cover and keep in the refrigerator.
Seaweed quinoa salad
- Add the quinoa, vegetable stock, and water to a rice cooker or saucepan, cover and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed. Allow to cool.
- Toss together the seaweed and quinoa, and drizzle over the ponzu dressing.
- Arrange a layer of seaweed quinoa salad on a plate, add some miso roasted eggplant, and a little more seaweed and ponzu to garnish.