Grilled Eggplant and Cucumber with Sesame Dressing
Layering eggplant and cucumber creates a beautiful appetizer. The fresh taste of lemon makes a great summer dish.
Photographed by Shin Ebisu
Calorie count is per serving
Excludes the time spend to cool down the eggplant.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- 2 eggplants
- 2 cucumbers
- 200 ml water
- A little less than 1 tsp salt (4 g)
- 2 tbsp sesame paste (white)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Shiso flower spikes, as desired
- Black pepper (coarsely ground)
Cut the cucumbers lengthwise in half. Remove the seeds with a spoon and cut diagonally into 5 mm slices. Mix the salt and water to prepare 2% of salt water. Soak the cucumber slices for 10 minutes, drain and squeeze out excess moisture.
Prepare each eggplant by make an incision around the base of the calyx to remove it. Prick a hole in the bottom with the tip of a chopstick. Place a gridiron on a gas stovetop and grill the eggplants over direct heat until the skin is scorched (or simply use a toaster oven).
Grilling the eggplant over direct heat results in an appetizing aroma, and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Enjoy the contrast with the crisp cucumber. If you use a toaster oven, you may not get that mouth-watering aroma, but the texture will be just as good.
When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, remove the stems and peel the skin. Make a deep incision down each eggplant and open like a book. Arrange the cucumber slices on a plate and cover with eggplant. Alternatively, lay the eggplant in a shallow, 10 cm square dish, cover with cucumber slices and turn over to plate.
Mix the sesame dressing ingredients and pour around the cucumber and grilled eggplant. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste, and garnish with shiso flower spikes if available.