Sticky Japanese Eggplant

1/2 cup sake or dry white wine
2 tbsp white or yellow miso
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
Large pinch of red pepper flakes
3 medium to large Japanese eggplant (about 1 pound)
2 tbsp light olive oil or vegetable oil
Kosher salt
Handful of Thai basil, basil, or mint leaves, torn if large

Make the glaze: Bring the sake to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the miso and whisk until it is dissolved. Add the sugar, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes. Continue to stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn off the heat and set aside.

Cut the eggplant into 1/2- to 3/4-inch disks. Heat a large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Add 1/2 tbsp of oil and about half the eggplant in a single layer, and sprinkle with salt. Press down gently with a wide spatula and swirl the pan frequently to encourage even browning. Once well browned, 3 to 5 minutes, turn over each piece. Drizzle in another 1/2 tbsp of oil, sprinkle with salt, and repeat procedure. The eggplant should be well browned on both sides and soft and creamy on the inside. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant.

When all the eggplant has been browned, return all of it to the pan. Add the glaze and toss well to combine. Bring to a boil and toss until the eggplant is well coated with the glaze. Add the herbs and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

-Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook, Susan Spungen