Vegan “Scallops”, Miso Glazed Eggplant
Mahogany glazed vegan scallops beckoned me from the computer screen, “See how I catch the light like a Vermeer earring? Make me. I am lacquered like a Chinese fan. Eat me!”
I wanted those “scallops” like a sixteen year old wants a belly button ring.
The recipe ran thusly, take one pound King Oyster Mushrooms, cut them to scallop shape, cook and brush with an umami glaze.
I marched right up to the mushroom guy at the Saturday Farmer’s Market and asked for 1/2 a pound of King Oyster Mushrooms. When he told me the price I literally gasped, and marched away from the mushroom guy at the Saturday Farmer’s Market.
The hunt was on. I checked my local market (more expensive), the asian market, (as expensive).
Here is the thing. Of course I could have bought the initial mushrooms at the Farmer’s market for… drum for please… $18 a pound. But if the dish was as good as it looked I wanted it as an every day meal not a splurge.
Japanese eggplant fit the bill nicely. Meaty, inexpensive, and a sponge like texture that soaks up any marinade you throw at them. AlI needed do was peel and slice them into disks and I was good to go.
I used the simple Miso marinade I’ve used for years on tofu and finished it with a splash of lime juice and fresh garlic. it worked a dream in this dish. If I had to choose just one type of miso on my dessert island it would be this white miso for its versatility.
This week has been a tough one for my sister and me as we split up our Mother and Father’s belongings.
“Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.”
-L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz
This dish straddles the seasons: A celebration of late Summer bounty or a hot meal to be eaten under fuzzy blankets on the first day of Autumn. Serve these Miso Glazed Scallops over black lentils, brown rice, or over a smashed baked sweet potato.
Peel your eggplants and slice into 1 1/2 or 2 inch disks.
Make a criss cross pattern with a sharp knife in the cut sides on the eggplant on both sides. You can see this in the photos.
In a medium bowl stir, miso, water, mirin, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, grated ginger, sugar and sesame oil.
Heat to medium high a skillet big enough to contain the eggplant disks in one layer. Pour in the sauce and swirl. Place you eggplant disks into the pan in one layer and cover with a lid. Allow to cook until the eggplant is just tender but not falling apart. About 6-8 minutes.
Remove lid and and flip the eggplants with a spatula. Cook until you have a good caramel on the bottom and the sauce is mostly evaporated to a rich glaze.
Remove from the heat. Juice your lime into a bowl with the minced garlic and pour over the "scallops". Serve.