Eggplant Dengaku (Broiled Miso Eggplant)

Soaking the eggplant in heavily salted water works wonders. The salt draws out the bitterness and leaves behind a pleasant, fresh taste. The overall texture of the cooked eggplant will be simultaneously firm and creamy. Use this technique before preparing any eggplant dish and everyone will wonder why your eggplant is always so tasty!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Makes 4 servings

4 Japanese eggplants or 2 medium-sized globe eggplants
4 tablespoons salt
1 cup (275 g) miso
4 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons mirin
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds, to taste

Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise. Fill a large bowl or pot with lukewarm water and mix in the salt. Place the eggplant halves in the bowl, weight down with a lid or plate, and let stand for 10 minutes.
In a small saucepan, combine the miso, sugar and mirin over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a near boil. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Remove the eggplant halves from the salt water and pat dry. Cut a few shallow slits into each half. Rub with sesame oil and place face down on a baking sheet. Roast for 5 minutes, or until the eggplants feel soft in the center.
Remove the eggplants from the oven. Turn broiler to high. Flip the eggplants over so that the cut side is facing upwards. Brush each eggplant with a generous amount of the miso mixture. Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over. Broil the eggplants for 3 minutes or until the topping is caramelized. Serve immediately.