Sweet Miso Roast Aubergines, Sautéed Spinach and Shiitake Mushrooms on Brown Rice with Walnut Dressing

Japan's creamy fermented bean paste makes a tangy baste for Peter Gordon's succulent aubergines served with spiced rice and silky vegetables
By Peter Gordon
Sweet Miso Roast Aubergines, Sautéed Spinach and Shiitake Mushrooms on Brown Rice with Walnut Dressing
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the aubergines

  • 2 tbsp shiro miso, (white miso)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup, or unrefined demerara sugar
  • 100 ml mirin
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large aubergine

For the vegetables

  • 16 fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 300 g spinach leaves

For the rice

  • 200 g brown rice, rinsed
  • 2 star anise

For the dressing

  • 80 g walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh soft herbs, such as basil, parsley, coriander, young thyme, or tarragon
  • 2 tsp walnut oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

Tips and Suggestions

if you don't have any mirin, substitute an extra 2 tablespoons of demerara sugar and 60ml water. In place of the star anise you could use cinnamon, cardamom or mace.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

2. Mix the miso, maple syrup, mirin and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil together in a small bowl, then brush the paste all over the cut surfaces of the aubergine wedges. Place them on the lined baking tray skin-side down and bake for 20-25 minutes until the aubergine wedges are cooked through.

3. Meanwhile, remove the stalks from the shiitake mushrooms and wrap them in J-cloth or muslin, loosely tying the material to enclose the stalks. Slice the caps of the mushrooms and set aside.

4. Put the bag of mushroom stalks in a large saucepan with the rice, star anise and 750ml of water. Bring to the boil, cover and adjust the heat to a rolling simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn the heat off under the pan and leave to rest for another 15 minutes without removing the lid.

5. To make the dressing: use either a small food processor or a mortar and pestle, to grind the nuts and garlic to a coarse paste. Blend in the herbs then mix in the walnut oil and soy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.

6. Heat a wok or large frying pan. Add the sesame oil then the sliced shiitake mushroom caps and cook over a moderately high heat until softened. Add the remaining olive oil and the spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted.

7. To serve, spoon some of the rice into a bowl-plate. Sit two pieces of aubergine on top. Tuck in some spinach and mushrooms then drizzle with the walnut dressing.

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