Eggplant, shiitake, wild garlic

Eggplant, shiitake, wild garlic

By
From
Finding Fire
Serves
4

Plump shiny eggplants char beautifully on the grill, the skin protecting the delicate flesh, which cooks slowly within. The interior turns into the texture of silky custard while gaining a smoky sweetness, which mellows the bitterness of the vegetable. Earthy, rich and full-bodied, shiitake mushrooms are rich in umami and impart a pungent, meaty flavour to the dish.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 ripe eggplants (aubergines) (see note), green calyxes removed and stems retained
sea salt
100ml light, fruity olive oil such as koroneiki or arbequina, plus extra for spraying
300g shiitake mushrooms, brushed clean
100g enoki mushrooms, cleaned and divided into 8 clusters
1 bunch wild garlic

Method

  1. 1. Prepare your embers. Spread the embers evenly across the base of the grate and arrange a grill approximately 5 cm (2 in) above the embers.
  2. 2. Pinprick the eggplants all over and place directly on the grill so that the skin blisters and blackens, rotating to ensure that it blisters evenly all over.
  3. 3. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Carefully peel away the charred skin.
  4. 4. Place the flesh of the eggplants on a clean dish, season with salt and drizzle liberally with the olive oil.
  5. 5. Allow to sit for 5–10 minutes; the smoky juices of the eggplant will run and mingle with the olive oil.
  6. 6. Meanwhile, spray the shiitake mushrooms lightly with olive oil, season with salt and grill, cap side down for 5–6 minutes until tender.
  7. 7. Grill the enoki mushrooms and the wild garlic until lightly charred.
  8. 8. Halve the eggplants lengthways and put them back on the grill to warm through, reserving the juices.
  9. 9. Serve immediately by placing half an eggplant in a shallow bowl topped with the grilled shiitake, enoki and wild garlic. Pour over the reserved eggplant juices to finish.

NOTE

  • Be sure you are buying a mature, ripe eggplant, choosing those that feel heavy for their size. Eggplants that are full of seeds indicate that the fruit is not at its peak and will have a more pronounced bitter profile. Also ensure that you prick the eggplants before placing on the fire to release the trapped steam, which may otherwise result in the eggplants exploding.
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