Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday Japanese Lunch

Eggplant salad with tart sesame dressing and cold soba noodles.

One of my favorite things about eggplant is its unique flavor and texture - it doesn't quite taste like anything else, and it often doesn't seem identifiably plant-like at all. In some dishes, the texture is reminiscent of meat or mushroom. This is one such dish where you might be hard-pressed to identify the main ingredient, despite the simplicity of the preparation. The eggplant is simply peeled, cut into matchsticks, and blanched for 3 minutes, then tossed with a ground white sesame-vinegar-tamari-sugar dressing.

As we've mentioned before, eggplants just love to hybridize, and it can sometimes be difficult to determine which varietal you've got. Here's the green and white beauty we picked up yesterday:

The pattern and color are reminiscent of the small, round Thai eggplants, sometimes called brinjals in Indian groceries - but, at over a pound, it's too large to be one of those. It's probably a hybrid or close relative.

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