Posts Tagged eggplant

Eggplant salad with wasabi dressing


This is a super-simple salad with just mixed greens and steamed eggplant. But I wanted to blog about the dressing. I usually don’t really like salad dressing (why ruin the veggies’ own flavours?), but this one is quite tasty. It’s special, too; apparently only available for purchase from a town called Odawara, near where my grandmother-in-law lived. Yusuke’s mom gave us a couple of bottles during a recent trip.

It’s very slightly creamy, but much less so than a ranch dressing. Other items on the ingredient list include: vinegar, sugar, oil, egg yolk, soy, green and white onions, spices, garlic, salt. Most importantly, though, the wasabi kick is delightful with raw greens—only a few drops are needed.



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Shown with my hand for comparison

Shown with my hand for comparison

I occasionally see the term aubergine here in Australia, but usually “eggplants” are eggfruits in grocery stores.

The other day, we came across a magnificent variegated globe (?) eggfruit in an Italian-owned grocery store. We were wary that it might prove to be full of seeds, but hurray! it was nearly seedless, smooth, and soft. Perhaps it was genetically modified…but it did indeed turn out to be tasty.

Yusuke prepared two dishes out of the large fruit.


For the first dish, shown above and below, he steamed large horizontal cross-section slices in olive oil and cooking sake. He added the liquid and then covered the pan with a lid to let the steaming magic happen.

He served the slices topped with chopped raw tomatoes and green onions. I also added raw baby spinach to mine. Delectable.


For the second dish, Yusuke cubed the eggfruit and made a spicy dish, sauteeing it with

  • sesame oil
  • dashi powder
  • sea salt
  • shichimi togarashi (Japanese mixed chili powder)

Absolutely fantastic texture, very delicious.


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Tomatillo et al stir fry

Oh, tomatillos, where have you been all my life? I had them for the first time in last year’s CSA baskets, and they’ve returned again a few times this year. The taste is similar to tomatoes, but they’re sweeter, drier, and fleshier. Plus they have the added fun of being neatly packaged in papery husks. A marvelous species indeed.

For this stir fry, Yusuke began by sautéing cubes of firm tofu in olive oil until slightly browned. He removed the tofu from the pan and wiped out the extra oil.

Next, he cooked chopped eggplant in fresh olive oil until cooked.

Next, he added minced garlic and tiny slivers of fresh chili pepper.

The tomatillo was added next.

And finally, powdered kombu dashi (a stock made from seaweed) offered umami. No additional salt was needed.

The original inspiration for this recipe was fish and tomatoes, but tofu worked nicely. On the side, we had miso soup with turnips and their greens.

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Pesto pasta

Earlier in the summer, our csa basket featured tons o’ fresh basil. For this recipe, Yusuke employed at least 30 fresh leaves to make an experimental pesto sauce. It was tasty.

Instead of the traditional pine nuts, he used about 1 tsp of peanut butter. He combined it with the basil leaves, sea salt, about 150 mL of olive oil, and garlic. He used a blender, but a food processor would probably be more efficient.

The sauce was tossed with al dente spaghettini, graced by steamed eggplants. Rather than water, Yusuke used wine for steaming. He simply put eggplant slices in a frying pan, poured in white wine, and covered it with a lid. The effect was succulent and tangy.

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Steamed eggplant

This eggplant was absolutely succulent, with a melting texture. Yusuke cut the raw eggplant (regular large size) into one inch slices. He cut off the skin in stripes, leaving some in place.

In a pan, he made a bed of kombu seaweed and then added sake, enough to cover the eggplant. He covered the pan and let it steam for 10-15 minutes, flipping the pieces once during the process. Option: use white wine instead of sake and add ponzu.

While the eggplant was steaming, Yusuke prepared a sauce:

  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt
  • sake
  • dashi
  • mirin

When the eggplant was soft, he added enoki mushrooms (whee) to the pan with the sauce. He finished by reducing the heat and adding katakuriko mixed with a bit of water (Japanese potato starch) to thicken the sauce.

To serve, we sprinkled a bit of shichimi pepper on top.

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Lettuce wrap-ish

This recipe made use of the delectable romaine lettuce in our weekly organic food basket. Though tasty, however, iceberg lettuce probably would have been more suitable, purely in terms of physics. In other words, the “wrap” part of this didn’t work out so well.

BUT! It was delicious.

The wrap filling consisted of organic veggies freshly grown in Quebec:

  • juicy eggplants
  • carrots
  • tiny bok choy
  • firm tofu (もめんどうふ)

The first step was to chop everything into tiny pieces.

The cooking began with the eggplant sauteed in canola oil. The other veggies were added next and allowed to steam with a lid covering the pan. This procedure made the eggplant particularly melty when eaten.

Next, the following was added:

  • soy sauce
  • sake
  • miso
  • mirin
  • oyster sauce (a tiny bit)

The filling was then arranged on the lettuce leaves.

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Roasted nightshades

In our weekly farmers’ market basket, we got approximately one buttload of tomatoes. Since these vegetable-ish fruits are not usually very prominent in our Japanese-based fare, we’ve been brainstorming ways to use them up. Yusuke made good progress with this dish.

First, he lightly scored a circle around the tops of the eggplants and tomatoes and then roasted them (in separate pans) in a 450 degree F oven for about 10 minutes.

When done, he immediately put them in a bowl of cold water, which allowed him to easily slide off the skin.

He chopped up everything and arranged it on plates, topped with chopped raw green onions, ginger, and soy sauce. (The original recipe that inspired this called for shisho, ginger, and myoga, but we had to make due with substitutes…)

The tomatoes were very sweet and the eggplant very juicy. Huzzah for summer.

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Eggplant, cabbage, and harusame layers

birthday dinner

This was my birthday dinner. (For those keeping track, yes, that was a fair few moons ago, but I’m not always prompt with updating.)

I didn’t have anything specific to request, but I asked for a light and simple meal…partially in the hope that Yusuke wouldn’t go to too much trouble. That failed, though: the meal was exquisite in its simplicity, but he took great care in preparing it. And naturally, many of my current favourite foods were included.

The bottom layer of the dish is boiled cabbage.

Next come delicately sautéed crimini mushrooms, whose health benefits evidently surpass those of other varieties.

The next component is my beloved eggplants, here fried in sesame oil to a delicate golden brown. Juicy.

And the pièce de résistance: boiled harusame noodles, which I wrote about in a previous post.

The neatly arranged layers were then drizzled with a sauce of:

  • soy sauce
  • ginger
  • rice wine vinegar
  • sesame oil
  • shichimi (spicy powder)

To complete the parade of my favourite tastes, we also had okra and egg miso soup.

Happy birthday to me!

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Nasu udon

Preparations for this light and tasty meal began with the core component: baby eggplant.

Yusuke scored around the top of the eggplants and the baked them on foil on the oven rack until the skin was blackened. Alongside them went green onions, which become very sweet when roasted.

Meanwhile, he boiled udon noodles in plain water. When finished, they were drained.

Next, he prepared a broth of:

  • water
  • sea salt
  • sake (tiny bit)
  • soy sauce (tiny bit)
  • dashi powder

When the eggplants were done, he put them in cold water to remove the skin. The last step was to slice the flesh partially into quarters.

Finally, it was time to assemble everything. First into our awesome cat bowls went the noodles, then the broth, then the veggies neatly arranged on top, followed by a dollop of ginger paste.

The broth’s light saltiness really made the eggplant fantastic.

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Extra-special spaghetti

This was a very special Saturday night dinner. All that was lacking was an opera singer belting “o sole mio.”

Yusuke began by preparing a tomato sauce from canned diced tomatoes. According to instructions that he read online, we squished the tomatoes before starting, to great dramatic effect in terms of kitchen splatter. He simmered the tomatoes in a frying pan with a bit of sea salt and white wine. The wine, in fact, was a very little bit, because to our surprise and chagrin, we had nearly run out.

He then added diced eggplant (soaked first to reduce bitterness), chopped mushrooms, and very finely chopped chives.

Next, he sautéed garlic in some olive oil until it was fragrant. Then he added some fresh clams in the shell and the tomato sauce in the pan. The whole mixture simmered until the clams opened. Magic!

The sauce and clams were served over al-dente spaghetti.

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