Sunday, August 22, 2010

Toga(rashi) Party

Umm...Has anyone noticed that summer is basically over? How did that happen? I went to the beach once (well, pool actually), took a one week holiday and now it’s Labor Day. Practically. Since I’m a slacker who hasn’t been cooking at all this summer, I decided it was finally time to see what was happening at my local farmers' market.

Since I’ve been spending most of my time going out, most recently to one of my favorite local joints, Yakitori Totto with best buds Chad, Julie, and Sandro, I was looking for something quick and easy. The local Japanese eggplant looked the most promising, especially recalling the amazing miso glazed eggplant that I had just consumed at YT. Really I was just looking for a way to eat more Togarashi, a totally addictive spice blend. Shichimi tōgarashi
(Japanese: 七味唐辛子, "seven flavor chili pepper") or shichimi, is a common Japanese spice mixture containing seven ingredients, typically:
  • coarsely ground red chili pepper (the main ingredient)
  • ground sansho (Sichuan pepper)
  • roasted orange peel
  • black sesame seed
  • white sesame seed
  • ground ginger
  • nori or aonori
It’s amazing on yakitori. Something about the spice blend and the grilled meats (and vegetables) is a great combo. You can buy it here or you can even make your own by blending equal parts of the above. (Some recipes include garlic, poppy seed, or hemp seed in place of one or more items listed).

But back to my eggplant...I didn’t have any miso so just did a pan sear with the togarashi and a soy/mirin glaze. It’s super easy and, although not as fab as the miso version, it's still the perfect vessel for eating more togarashi! Hello. My name is Tina, and I'm an addict.

Spicy Japanese Eggplant
(Adapted from Food & Wine)

1 1/2 pounds Japanese eggplants, cut crosswise about 1/2-inch thick
Togarashi, for sprinkling
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1. Lightly sprinkle the cut eggplant on both sides with togarashi. In a very large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons each of the canola oil until shimmering. Add the eggplant and cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes.

2. Brush the eggplant with the remaining canola and sesame oil. Turn and cook until deeply browned on the bottom and tender, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the mirin and soy sauce to the skillet. Turn the eggplant and cook until glazed, 1 minute. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with more togarashi, and serve. Serves up to 4 as a side dish.

1 comment:

WendyB said...

I feel like it's going to be Christmas any minute now.