This one-bowl meatless meal is the perfect comfort food choice on a busy weeknight. It takes about 50 minutes from start to finish, so plan accordingly. Choose eggplants that feel heavy for their size. If you prefer not to grill or char on the burner of your stovetop, you can halve the eggplant lengthwise; place, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; and bake at 450°F for 30 to 45 minutes or until very tender. You'll lose some of the char, but the dish will still be delicious. This truly is a one-dish meal, but you could pair with a simple green salad if you feel the need for crunch.
How to Make It
Preheat grill to high.
To expose each eggplant fully to the heat, peel off the pointy flaps of the eggplant caps but leave the stems attached. Pierce each eggplant 8 to 10 times with a fork. Coat grill grates with cooking spray. Add eggplants to grill; cook, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes or until skin is blackened and flesh is very tender, turning occasionally. You can also cook directly over the gas burner of your stove: Heat burner to high, and place eggplant directly on burner. Cook 12 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until skin is sagging and charred. If flesh is not sufficiently soft in the middle, place in a 450°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly.
Thinly slice green parts of green onions (reserve white parts for another use). Place green parts of green onions in a small bowl. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium until just starting to smoke. Pour hot oil over green onions (they should sizzle and wilt). Cool.
Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, minced garlic, and chile in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
When eggplants are cool enough to handle, remove skins. Cut flesh crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Separate pieces into strips; arrange on a platter. Pour off any liquid that accumulates. Spoon green onion mixture over eggplant. Serve with soy sauce mixture for dipping.
The Pho Cookbook.
Ten Speed Press, $22, on sale Feb. 7, 2017.