1 large eggplant, cut into 4 (1/4-inch) thick slices
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
4 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons shiro miso (light)
1/2 tablespoon ginger julienne
4 scallions, sliced 1/16-inch thick
1 (4-ounce) piece 5-spice (or smoked) tofu, julienned
1 pound fresh udon noodles (blanched dried noodles would work)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pinch ground white pepper
3 cups tatsoi or mizuna
1 (2-ounce) package enoki mushrooms
In shallow dishes, mix the flour, salt and black pepper. Place the egg in another dish and the panko and thyme in a third. Dredge the eggplant in the flour, then egg, and then panko. Deep fry at 350 degrees until golden, about 5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and drain on paper towels.
In a saucepan, heat the chicken stock and whisk in the miso and ginger. Season and check. Heat through and add scallions, tofu and noodles. In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and white pepper. Toss with greens and mushrooms to coat. Check for seasoning.
PLATING In large pasta bowls, ladle in the noodle soup. Slice the eggplant in half on the bias and place on top of the noodles. Top with salad.
Wine Suggestion: Pacific Echo Brut Rose