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Deep-Fried Aubergine With Miso Sauce

Nasu no Miso Kake

ingredients

4 very small white or purple aubergines
sunflower oil
salt

for the miso sauce:

2 tbsp shiro miso (sweet white bean paste)
4 tbsp sake, dry sherry or dry vermouth
2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour or potato flour
generous pinch monosodium glutamate (optional)

garnish with:

radish flowers
parsley sprigs

method

1. Slice off the ends of the aubergines; rinse and dry them and cut lengthwise into quarters; cut across the middle of each quarter to obtain pieces about 2 1/2 in (6 cm) long. Use a small, sharp vegetable knife to 'turn' these pieces, cutting off the sharp edges.

2. Make 2 or 3 parallel lengthwise cuts, about 1/8 in (3 mm) deep in the skin of each piece and place in a large bowl of cold, salted water; leave to stand.

3. The water should cover all the pieces. Drain after 20 minutes and blot-dry in clean cloths. Make the miso sauce: warm the sweet white bean paste gently with the sake and sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon. Mix the cornflour or potato flour once.

4. This dish goes well with grilled meat, poultry or fish. It is also excellent served cold with cured meat, sausages and smoked cheese.

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