The literal translation of the Japanese noun 南蛮 (namban) is southern barbarians,, an epithet often reserved for the early European visitors to Japan, or 南蛮人 (nambanjin), who first arrived at the southern-most islands of that archipelago during the late 16th century. These early Catholic missionaries and Portuguese and Spanish traders were clearly not well liked to earn such a name!
However, the noun 南蛮 on its own also means cayenne pepper. Today’s recipe is for grilled cayenne pepper eggplant, and you’re going to love it as much as my potluck-dinner-having board-gamer friends did two weekends ago. It’s adapted from the book おつまみ (otsumami, or “snacks,” or as I learned it, “obligatory free appetizers you get when you order an alcoholic drink at many Japanese restaurants”), a fantastic cookbook of 478 small dishes.
Recipe follows after the break. Photo coming shortly.