This is not a classic Izakaya food but goes well with red wines or beer if you are having one. I used a medium-sized Italian eggplant for this dish. Again this is a very simple quick dish to make as long as you have a good eggplant. I could have made this with layered slices of eggplant and meat sauce and cheese in a casserole (similar to eggplant parmesan) but it would have taken too much time particularly when we have already opened a bottle of wine.
I cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and scored the meat (cross hatching) taking care not to cut the skin. I salted them lightly and let it stand for 5-10 minutes and the patted dry. I put small amount (1 tbs) of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and put two halves of the eggplant–the cut surface down, on medium heat. I put on the lid and cooked for 10 minutes (it half steamed) until the eggplant was soft (Cut side should have a nice brown surface).
For the meat sauce, I just cooked ground chicken (leftover from making other dishes) in a frying pan (with olive oil, salt and pepper) and then added my marinara sauce (leftover) and simmered to warm and make sure the chicken is cooked through. Of course, nothing will prevent you from making a more fancy “ragu” or something.
Put the cooked eggplant in the ramekin or gratiné dish which can hold the eggplant snuggly. Pour the meat sauce over and place several slices of Mozzarella cheese on the top and put it in a 450F toaster oven (400F if using a regualr oven) for 10 minutes until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbly. Remove from the oven and grate Parmesan cheese over it, drizzle good olive oil, and garnish with chiffonade of fresh basil. It went well with a bottle of Italian-style (super Tuscan) wine from Washington state “Saggi” 2007.