I love eggplants and Italian culinary tradition abounds with eggplant-based recipes, but they almost always involve frying and/or turning on the oven. Which did not really look appealing to me, in the midst of summer heatwaves. This is a steamed eggplant tossed in a soy-sauce based marinate that pairs perfectly with boiled rice. It is slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghis' Plenty More book (https://www.amazon.com...) —Silvia Merler
medium eggplant, topped and peeled
white rice, boiled
freshly crushed black pepper, a pinch of paprika and chives to finish
Fill a large pot (with a lid) with water to a quarter of the way up the sides and bring to a boil. Place the eggplant in the steamer (I used a bamboo steamer) or in a colander hovering over the water, making sure the water does not touch the steamer (you don’t want the eggplant to be boiled). Cover tightly using the lid and let steam for 30 minutes, turning the eggplant once.
When the eggplant is cooked (it should feel very soft and moist to the touch), remove the steamer from the pot and leave the eggplant to cool and drain inside the steamer. When the eggplant is cool, shred the flesh by hand into long and thin stripes. You can also remove part of the seeds, if you don’t like the taste of them. Continue to drain the stripes for an additional 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the marinade. Mix together the mirin, oil, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and sesame seeds. Stir in the ginger and garlic and set aide. Once the eggplant is completely cooled and drained, put it in a small bowl and toss it with the marinate. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes, before serving over the cooked white rice. To finish, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, paprika and chives.