"The first time I was in Australia I discovered the marron, which is now one of my favourite ingredients. It's amazing and I've never experienced anything like it in the US."
- 2 large eggplant, thickly sliced lengthways
- 125 ml grapeseed oil (½ cup)
- 30 gm red miso
- 2 banana shallots, finely diced (see note)
- 300 gm celeriac, diced
- 1 long red chilli, seeds removed, sliced
- 50 ml mirin
- 1 nori sheet, cut into 1cm strips
- 50 gm butter
- 3 marron tails (75gm each), peeled and deveined
- ½ tsp finely ground Sichuan pepper
- To serve: micro coriander
- 1Preheat oven to 220C. Place eggplant on a roasting tray, brush with 60ml oil and roast until dark brown (30 minutes). Lay half the eggplant slices in a small shallow tray lined with baking paper, fitting them snugly in a single layer. Melt miso in a saucepan with 1 tbsp water, then brush over eggplant in tray, cover with remaining eggplant and refrigerate to chill (2-3 hours).
- 2Heat 40ml oil in a saucepan over low heat, add shallot and stir occasionally until translucent (3-4 minutes). Add celeriac and chilli, increase heat to medium and cook until chilli softens (2-3 minutes). Add 500ml water and simmer until celeriac is very tender (20 minutes). Drain (reserve liquid). Blend celeriac mixture in a food processor, adding some of the reserved liquid if necessary, to form a smooth purée. Keep warm.
- 3Remove eggplant carefully from tray and cut into rough 6cm x 4cm rectangles. Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, and fry eggplant pieces until heated through, turning once (1-2 minutes each side). Deglaze pan with mirin, set aside to cool slightly. When eggplant is cool enough to handle, wrap a nori strip around the middle of each eggplant piece, brush with a little mirin and keep warm.
- 4Heat butter in a frying pan over high heat until foaming, add marron tails and turn occasionally, adding Sichuan pepper halfway through cooking and basting the marron with the foaming Sichuan butter, until tails are opaque (4 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper, halve tails lengthways and keep warm.
- 5Spoon a little celeriac purée onto serving plates. Add eggplant and marron, top with micro coriander and serve hot.
Note Banana shallots are available from select greengrocers. If unavailable, substitute large golden shallots.
Drink Suggestion: Fruity grenache rosé. Drink suggestion by Max Allen
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