As part of the Road to the Recipe series, we join Chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern in New York City, where he prepares and plates this eggplant salad with sweet miso and melon.


  • 8 small Japanese eggplants (to purée)
  • 6 eggplants in any combination of Japanese, Rosa Bianca, Sicilian, Turkish, White, Fairytale (to grill and roast)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + as needed
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup stock or water
  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry sherry wine
  • 4 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Chardonnay vinegar
  • sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 sweet bell pepper (red and yellow)
  • 1 spicy pepper (red anaheim) (or to taste)
  • 1 4-inch cucumber (Japanese or Persian)
  • 2 tablespoons shiso jeaves, julienned
  • 5 shiso leaves, whole
  • 1/4 melon (cantaloupe, canary or other sweet firm-fleshed summer melon)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon baby shiso leaves
  • 1 tablespoon watercress


  1. Season 8 small Japanese eggplants with olive oil, then slowly roast in a charcoal grill on low heat, or an oven at 350°F, for 45-60 minutes. The eggplant should be cooked all the way through and be soft on the inside.
  2. While they roast, prepare the cucumber and melon.
    Slice cucumber into 1/4″ slices. Toss with sea salt, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon Chardonnay vinegar, and julienned sisho leaves.
  3. Cut 1/3″ thick slices of melon and remove skin. Dress melon with sea salt, sisho leaves, and 2 tablespoons olive oil, and allow to marinate for 30 minutes. Cut into 1/2″ triangular shapes.
  4. When the eggplants are done and soft to the touch, let them cool until you can easily handle them. Using a small paring knife, cut them in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the soft flesh.
  5. In a blender, purée the eggplant flesh (1 cup) with white miso paste, 1/4 cup of stock or water, and 1 tablespoon olive oil until smooth. Finish the purée with dry sherry wine. Keep the purée warm while preparing the rest.
  6. Cut the eggplant varieties into thick slices. Grill over low heat or sauté in a medium sauté pan over medium heat until eggplant is dark, golden brown. Toss with maple syrup, 4 tablespoons Chardonnay vinegar, and sea salt.
  7. Cut sweet bell peppers into 1/2″ pieces. Cut spicy peppers into 1/2″ julienne. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, sauté sweet peppers in 1 teaspoon olive oil, until tender (about 3 minutes). Add spicy pepper and sauté 1 more minute.

To Serve

  1. Divide the eggplant purée equally onto 4 plates and spread in a line or circle.
  2. Place pieces of each eggplant variety on the purée.
  3. Top the eggplant with peppers.
  4. Sprinkle pine nuts over the peppers.
  5. Divide the cucumber and melon among the 4 plates.
  6. Garnish with baby shiso leaves, watercress and sea salt.