Sesame-Garlic Broiled Eggplant and a Cucumber Salad

Have you ever made something, and when you tasted it you thought, “DAMN, this is GOOD?”  Because that’s what happened tonight with the sauce for this eggplant.  I was just tooling around with some ingredients, wanting to come up with a nice sweet and salty marinade for eggplant with a little bit of bite to it.  I don’t normally buy eggplant – no special reason, just don’t – but it was so appealing at the farmers’ market.  I couldn’t turn it away.  So tonight, I poured some of this, and sprinkled some of that then tasted – then threw in some yummy and added some tasty.  I kept track of what went in, and here’s the result.  You won’t be disasppointed – it’s super-tasty.  So, before the recipe, la methode for making this easy dinner:  First, I purged the eggplant.  I then assembled a quick cucumber salad, so it could marinate and develop its flavors.  After this, I put on a pot of rice, then preheated the broiler.  After this, I made the sauce for the eggplant.  When the rice had only five minutes left, I began broiling the eggplant.  By the time it was finished, I had a perfectly flavored cucumber salad, some fluffy rice, and some hot, delicious eggplant.  Truly, a satisfying meal.

Sesame-Garlic Broiled Eggplant

 

  • coarse sea salt
  • 2 medium-large eggplant
  • 1/2 C peanut oil
  • 1/4 C light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine)
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
  • 2 T honey or agave nectar
Slice the eggplant in 1/2″ thick slices (I got eight slices out of mine).  Lay the slices in a colander and sprinkle both sides liberally with coarse sea salt.  If you can avoid female eggplant, which have an abundance of seeds, you will end up with a better tasting fruit.  Let this rest for 30 minutes.  Preheat the broiler.  Meanwhile, whisk together all of the remaining ingredients.  You will end up with a slightly thick marinade.  Place a rack on a cookie sheet.  When the 30 minutes have elapsed, carefully wipe the salt and moisture from the eggplant; make sure you use a good, strong paper towel to avoid paper residue.  Brush both sides of each eggplant slice with the sauce.  Place them on the rack, then broil them for two minutes on each side.  Before turning the slices, brush both sides again with the sauce.  Remove from the oven.  Brush again with the sauce, then garnish with thin slices of scallions and cilantro if desired.  Serve hot over white rice.
Serves 2.
Asian Marinated Cucumber Salad
  • 2 small (or 1 large) cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 T cilantro, chopped
  • 4 T peanut oil
  • 4 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T honey or agave nectar
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T toasted sesame seeds
In a bowl, toss together the cucumbers, cilantro, and scallions.  In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, honey, and soy sauce.  Pour the dressing over the cucumber salad, and let it marinate for about 30 minutes.  Before serving, toss with toasted sesame seeds.  
Serves 2.
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