TUNA TARTARE WITH MISO BRAISED EGGPLANT
(serves 4 -6 as a starter, or as part a main course accompanied with other small dishes)
Miso, fermented soybean paste, is available at speciality Asian supply shops or in some supermarkets in the Asian or speciality section. This Japanese culinary mainstay has the consistency of peanut butter and is used in sauces, soups, marinades, salad dressings and as a condiment. I love its unique offbeat and savoury flavour.
6 tbsp shiro miso (white fermented soy bean paste)
1 + 1/2 tbsp water
4 tsp sugar
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
1 large eggplant (cut in half lengthwise)
15ml (1 tbsp) canola oil
1/2 small red onion (thinly sliced)
125 ml (1/2 cup) rice wine vinegar
150g tuna loin (trimmed into 4cm diameter tube and thinly sliced)
2 spring onions (thinly sliced on the diagonal)
2 handfuls micro greens or baby salad greens
Gingered Dashi Stock
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Into a small bowl place miso, water, sugar and ginger and stir together. Sit aside.
- Place vinegar in a small pot and add onion. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or till onion has softened. Drain (if any vinegar is remaining) and cool.
- Rub cut edge and skin side of eggplant halves with oil. Use any remaining oil to grease a small roasting tray.
- Place eggplant halves, cut-side uppermost, onto roasting tray, place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes or till beginning to soften.
- Remove eggplant from oven and slash cut edges with a sharp knife. Brush generously with miso mix and return to oven for 7 minutes.
- Remove, brush generously again with miso mix and return to oven for a further 7 minutes or till eggplant flesh is soft and mushy.
- Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle scrape out flesh into a small bowl. Mash well.
- To serve: Place mashed eggplant into centre of plates or in small dollops on one large presentation plate.
- Lay sliced tuna individually on top and delicately garnish with a twist of the cooked red onion, spring onion and sprigs of micro greens (or leaves of baby salad greens). Lightly drizzle, perhaps one quarter only of Gingered Dashi Stock, around the tuna and serve.