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Miso Aubergine Salad Topped with Crispy Buckwheat and Tahini Dressing







serves 6

ingredients:

3 tbsp miso paste

3 tbsp mirin (or use 2 tbsp unrefined sugar + 1 tbsp water mixed together, or 2 tbsp runny honey)

2 tbsp sunflower oil (or light olive oil)

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 aubergines, stems trimmed, each cut lengthways into six wedges

1 tbsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp tahini paste

3 tbsp orange juice

85ml Greek-style plain yogurt

½ tsp finely grated orange zest

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 handfuls salad leaves (I used baby kale and watercress)

10 Medjool dates, quartered lengthways and stone removed

200g feta, crumbled

2 tbsp crispy buckwheat

2 tbsp toasted pine nuts (or pumpkin seeds)

For the crispy buckwheat

50g whole buckwheat grains, rinsed and drained

About 300ml sunflower or other plain oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas mark 4).

Mix the miso paste with the mirin to loosen it, then stir in the sunflower and sesame oils.

Brush the mixture thinly on the cut sides of the aubergine.

Sprinkle on the sesame seeds.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20–30 minutes.

The aubergine is cooked when you can squeeze it with little resistance.

Mix the tahini to a slurry with the orange juice.

Stir in the yogurt, orange zest and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then season with salt.

Toss the salad leaves with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and divide  among your plates.

Sit the aubergine on top, then scatter with the dates, feta and crispy buckwheat.

Finally, drizzle over the tahini yogurt, or serve it separately, and sprinkle with the crispy buckwheat and toasted pine nuts.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

For the Crispy Buckwheat

Pour 500ml (2 cups) of hot (but not boiling) water over the buckwheat in a bowl and leave for 6 hours or overnight.

Drain into a sieve, then pat dry on a kitchen cloth.

Pour enough oil into a medium pan or frying pan, about 24cm diameter, to give you 2cm depth.

Place over a medium heat and when the oil reaches 150°C (300°F), add the drained buckwheat.

Fry gently, stirring frequently, until the grains begin to stop sizzling and have turned golden brown.

Drain in a heatproof sieve or small-holed colander, then lay it on baking paper, sprinkle with flaky salt and leave to cool.

Once the oil has cooled you can strain and reuse it.

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