101 Meals in 10 Minutes or Less - what an eye catching title. For good reason, this has been in the New York Time's list of most read articles. My family reports that New York is having a typically hot summer (while in the UK, the weather is really best not mentioned), which merits having quick, easy dinners that don't overheat the house.
But since we're missing out on every other aspect of summer in the UK, I don't see why I should dismiss these heat-adapted recipes as being inappropriate. In fact, I'm embracing them. Since Mr. A&N and I are both full time workers while also being full-time food enjoyers, a quick and tasty meal is often just the ticket. Like the food (and all-around) nerd I am, I have copied and pasted the 101 meals into my own Word doc, deleted the ones I didn't think I'd like, and highlighted the ingredients of the best sounding ones. I am a born list maker.
It did get me thinking about my own favorite quick recipes, and the first that sprung to mind was for Nasu no Dengaku, or aubergines with miso paste. They are halfway toward being a pudding, but no less wonderful for being so; the way the aubergine softens and takes on the miso flavor is something of which dreams are made. In fact, it was this foodstuff which convinced Mr. A&N there was a lot more to Japanese cuisine than sushi, and led us on the path to going on honeymoon in Japan just so we could eat ourselves into poverty.
This recipe is from Hiroko Shimbo's The Japanese Kitchen, a great cookbook.
Nasu no Dengaku
- 3 Tbs miso paste (mamemiso is suggested)
- 2 Tbs mirin
- 1/4 C sake
- 1 1/2 Tbs sugar
- 1 Tbs scallions, minced
- 1 Tbs sesame oil
- 2 japanese eggplants or 1 medium eggplant, sliced either into 2-inch thick disks or down the length of the eggplant, again so it's 2 inches thick.
- for garnish, 1 Tbs white sesame seed, toasted
- Optional: vegetable oil for deep-frying (or you can grill it to be healthier)
- If you're going to deep-fry, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil over medium heat to 340 F/170 C. OR, if you're going to be healthy and grill it, turn your grill to 375 F/190 C.
- Combine the miso, miri, and sake in a small saucepan, and stir with a spatula until smooth.
- Add the sugar and place over a medium-low heat.
- Cook for about 5 minutes or until no longer watery, stirring all the time.
- Add the scallions and sesame oil and mix, then remove from the heat.
- Score one side of each eggplant piece to form a checkerboard pattern, and prick the other side all-over with a toothpick
- If frying: Fry each piece for about 3-5 minutes or until golden, and then drain on a paper towel. If grilling: Rub each slice with a bit of vegetable oil, and grill until soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
- While still hot, top with the miso sauce mixture and garnish with sesame seeds.