Baba Ganoush. Nasu Dengaku. No these aren't names of characters you'd find in the Mos Eisley cantina on Tattooine, though I wouldn't blame you for believing so. These are two of my personal favourite dishes that feature eggplant, that wholly underrated vegetable that often gets used in its emoji form for something completely unrelated.
A quick explanation before you Google "Baba...whatwasthatwordagain?". Baba ganoush, a Middle-Eastern dip with roasted eggplant, can be somewhat compared to hummus except that it's something else entirely different. Best eaten in vastly absurd amounts with fresh baked pita bread. And what of nasu dengaku? That's a Japanese dish of miso-glazed eggplant that is broiled until it turns into a magically savoury, charred pulp.
So what do you get when you combine these two luscious dishes into a soup? An umami-laden, velvet-textured flavour party that'll make you stunned at how you missed out on eggplant soup for so long. In this recipe I've added smoked paprika to amp up the smokiness of roasted eggplant and cannellini beans to give some body to the finished product. I also suggest a final garnish of feta, chili oil and parsley for final kick of salt, spice and freshness. And, for bonus points with your vegan and gluten-free friends, this soup checks all the boxes.
Roasted Miso Eggplant Soup
3 med eggplant, halved lengthwise
1 med onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can canellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ cup tahini
¼ cup shiro (white) miso
3 cups vegetable stock
salt & pepper
crumbled feta, chili oil, and chopped parsley to garnish
Preheat oven to 400F, lightly coat both sides of eggplant with 2 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place eggplants cut side down on baking sheet and roast on lowest rack for 20 min, or until starting to brown. Flip to cut side up and roast another 10 min, or until soft throughout. Cool on wire rack when done.
In a large pot, saute onion and garlic in 3 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat for about 8 min or until translucent. Add smoked paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper. When eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and add the eggplant to the pot. Add cannellini beans, tahini, miso, and vegetable stock. Stir to combine. Cover and increase to medium high heat, keeping a close eye on it . When it starts to bubble, decrease to low heat and let simmer slowly for 20 min.
After 20 min, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until it becomes a consistently smooth texture. Return to medium heat and bring to serving temperature, garnished with crumbled feta, a swirl of chili oil, and fresh chopped parsley.