Miso eggplant recipe?
I think there are two elements to this dish: the sauce (well covered by the others who posted before me) and how you cook the eggplant.
Based on a recipe from (I think) Food and Wine magazine, I've found the best way to get those almost marshmallowy, super-light eggplants I've had in Japanese restaurants is actually to steam and sear them. It never occurred to me before to steam something like an eggplant, but it works really well.
What I do is: take an eggplant, trim both ends. Cut in half lengthways if you have a fat eggplant (as opposed to those thin, long Asian ones), then cut slightly on the bias into 1-inch chunks. Asian eggplants I'd just cut into 1-inch rounds. Either use a traditional steamer, or I put the eggplant chunks with a small pinch of salt and a splash of water in one of those pyrex dishes with lid in the microwave, and microwave for 4 minutes, until spongy. Drain any excess water.
In a pan, heat some neutral oil (not a lot, like for frying raw eggplant). Sear the eggplant chunks on all sides. Then dress with your dressing (miso for Asian, or pesto for European meal). Great served cold or at room temp.
Cut eggplant into thik rounds, salt (and press if you like), rinse and squeeze the rounds. Make a mixture of miso, lemon juice, and a touch of sugar. Paint just a bit on the eggplant and grill or broil. As the eggplant starts to soften, maybe char a little, paint with the rest of the miso mix and finish on heat for a few more minutes.
I also do a quick version: paint rounds and start to pan fry using very little oil; as the oil is quickly absorbed, add a bit of water to the eggplant - bit by bit with water until cooked. You get completely cooked miso eggplant, using little oil and taking advantage of that small amount of oil in terms of taste and texture.
re: Sam Fujisaka
the restaurant versions usually contain mirin & sake. this is the standard formula i use for it:
½ cup white miso paste
¼ cup sake
¼ cup Mirin (sweet rice wine)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat until slightly reduced & thickened. brush over eggplant slices and grill or broil, applying additional glaze to each side about halfway through cooking.
ghg & car alien, the small difference between the two recipes is that my glaze is quite thick and a bit lemony without reduction. ghg, yours sounds great and is probably very similar if the miso plus half cup of mirin & sake is reduced down to similar thickness.
Funny, you've made me think: my Mom and the aunts - formed by the depression and concentration camps - really didn't cook much with the more costly sake and mirin, preferring to use white vinegar, brown sugar, and lemon juice.