I have to make an effort with lunches. If I wasn’t careful, I’d probably end up eating crackers and cream cheese every day – not entirely conducive to a balanced diet. We’ve actually started a list of possible options, so that we never get stuck in a lunch rut. You see – and here’s the rub – we don’t really eat sandwiches. I find them a bit of a bready contradiction: too filling in the short term (leading to an immediate post-lunch slump where I’m not good for much other than vacant gazing) yet not sustaining enough in the long term (resulting in a chocolate hunt.) And so, I try to keep lunches light, but satisfying. Now that late October has properly started to sink its cold teeth into us, I’m finding myself craving things that come in bowls I can warm my hands on. This miso glazed aubergine dish fits the bill – satisfyingly savoury, with a hint of chilli heat, and a subtle smokiness. It’s great for lunch, but then I’d happily eat it for breakfast and dinner, too!
2 small aubergines, cut into quarters lengthwise
1 tbsp. oil
2 cloves smoked garlic, chopped
2-3 tsp. white miso paste (depending on how salty you want it)
3 tbsp. mirin
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. chilli flakes
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
Lemon wedges, to serve
Heat the oil in a large pan over a high heat. Arrange the aubergine pieces in the pan skin side down, and fry for about five minutes, until the skin softens and almost chars (about five minutes.) Meanwhile, mix together the miso, soy sauce, paprika, chilli flakes, and two tablespoons of the mirin.
Turn the aubergine pieces on their sides, and cook until beginning to brown. Repeat on the other exposed side, then arrange skin side down, sprinkle with the garlic,, pour the remaining mirin around the aubergine, and brush all of the exposed flesh with the glaze. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the glaze has turned syrupy. In a dry pan, toast the sesame seeds (but keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!) Serve the aubergine sprinkled with sesame seeds, with wedges of lemon on the side.