Let Hetty McKinnon’s simple yet hearty recipes inspire your home cooking.
Miso is the perfect balance of salty, sweet, fruity and savoury. This sheer complexity of flavour is like no other and is a formidable match for the full-bodied silkiness of eggplant.
4 eggplants (1.5 kg)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
200 g eschalots (about 6) thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons mild miso paste
200 ml dashi (Japanese soup stock) or other vegetable stock
3 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon sake
400 g soba noodles
1/2 cup Chinese shallots finely chopped
1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Peel strips of skin from the eggplant, from top to bottom, so it leaves a stripy pattern. Cut into 2 cm cubes and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and roast for 20â€“25 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven, place in a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt and allow to cool.
3. Place the eschalots and the remaining oil in a large pan and sauté on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Once they soften up, add the ginger and garlic and cook on low heat for another 5 minutes. Add the miso paste, dashi, mirin, soy sauce, caster sugar and sake and stir well to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes until the mixture thickens slightly. Finally, add the roasted eggplant to the miso sauce and combine well.
4. Meanwhile, in a pot of salted boiling water, cook the soba noodles according to packet instructions (soba noodles usually require only 5-6 minutes of cooking). Drain the noodles and refresh slightly in cold water.
5. Combine the soba noodles, miso eggplant and Chinese shallots and season well. Place on a serving plate and scatter over the walnuts.
This recipe appears in Hetty’s new cookbook, Community, available now from Pan MacMillan.