In collaboration with Tenderstem®.
A simple but spectacular side dish featuring Tenderstem®, pan-fried eggplant and a Japanese spiced miso-butter. A quick and easy vegetable recipe to go with fish, tofu and any east Asian meal.
In the lead up to Christmas, I’ve come to the conclusion that man (and woman) cannot live by panettone alone. Or mince pies.
As much as I love the build-up to the Big Day, the allure of grazing on cookies, sweets, and all the foods that seem to be restricted during the rest of the year just isn’t there for me. Or not there after the first few bites.
I may be a bit weird, but I can’t be the only one who still wishes to eat “real” food. Am I? Besides, I don’t need permission to eat what I want, whenever I want. Terry’s chocolate orange in July? Bring it on. Although Lindt chocolate reindeer might be thin on the ground, I suppose.Of course, I know that holiday food has a special significance. It’s just that I’d rather keep it for the few days before and after Christmas. Besides, my digestion and energy go into meltdown when I stray too far, for too long, away from my norm. It’s an age thing, I think.
There’s no reason, however, not to make your “normal” food special. In fact, instead of whipping up amazing cakes, cookies and candies (not my forte, as you know) I work a little at making my everyday vegetables special. Not necessarily Christmassy. Just special.
One vegetable that is easy to make that little bit more special is Tenderstem®.
As my recipe index will testify, I do love Tenderstem®. The mild brassica taste is a winner with my family, too. It is fab in risottos, polenta, pasta and the like, but often I will serve it as a side dish, simply steamed with a squoosh of lemon.
I’ve discovered recently that I really love Tenderstem® with east Asian flavours. Whether its leggy stems are thrown into a stir-fry or, as in my last Tenderstem ® recipe, doused in a simple sesame sauce, the umami-heavy flavours in Chinese and Japanese cooking are my go-to with this vegetable. I think because it has a mild sweetness to it, as well as the distinctive flavour that is the hallmark of all brassicas, it marries so well with soy, sesame, ginger, garlic and miso.
As with my last recipe featuring Tenderstem®, I’ve travelled to Japan. No really. I was inspired to create the recipe with sweet sesame sauce after I made something similar at a cooking class in Tokyo.
The simple but sophisticated way that Japanese home cooks and chefs work with vegetables has really influenced the way that I now use them. Good produce doesn’t need tricksy techniques or long-winded recipes to make them shine. That’s why I love using Tenderstem®. It’s super easy and quick to cook (see my simple guide) as well as a great canvas for other, complementary flavours.
Today I’ve added slivers of pan-fried aubergine and tossed all of it in a spiced up miso butter. You’ve seen the spices before on Food To Glow: I made this blend for my savoury granola, Turmeric and Japanese 7-Spice Super Seed Mix. But you can also buy something similar at Asian stores (look out for S&B brand), or leave it out and just stick with the miso-butter. You will want to make more than you need for the miso butter because it is absolutely delicious. In summer I like to brush it on ears of sweetcorn as it grills, as well as toss it through steamed sweet potato pieces, hot green beans and asparagus.
So, if you are already getting sick of mince pies, and even if you aren’t, why not make up this simple side dish? It goes great with baked tofu, fish, and of course any Japanese or Chinese food you are making – or getting delivered. Tis the season for a little indulgence, after all. 🙂
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Miso Butter Tenderstem® with Eggplant
A simple but spectacular side dish featuring Tenderstem®, pan-fried aubergine and a Japanese spiced miso-butter. A quick and easy vegetable recipe to go with fish, tofu and any east Asian meal. xx
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ medium aubergine
30g unsalted butter, softened OR non-dairy spread of choice
2 tsp brown or white miso* (I much prefer brown miso here)
½ – 1 tsp Japanese 7-spice blend (see below), optional
2 tsp pickled mustard seeds, if liked (from the bottom of a cornichon/pickle jar), optional
Japanese 7-spice blend ingredients:
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns (or use 2 tbsp of black pepper instead)
½ tbsp yuzu powder (available online or at specialist shops) or dried orange peel
½ to 1 tbsp cayenne or something milder like guajillo
1 tbsp powdered nori seaweed OR a thin strip from a sheet of nori, finely ground (found with sushi making ingredients)
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
½ tbsp ground ginger
Blend the spice blend ingredients in a spice grinder, pestle and mortar or small food processor. Set aside. You will be using ½ to 1 tsp of this mix. Store the remainder in a lidded jar.
Blend the softened butter, miso and ½ – 1 teaspoon Japanese 7-spice in a small bowl.Quarter then cut the aubergine into thin slices and gently sauté in the oil until lightly golden, turning with tongs to cook evenly.
While the aubergine is cooking, steam the Tenderstem® for 2 minutes. Add the Tenderstem® to the sauté pan with the aubergine, followed by the miso butter, tossing gently. Serve warm.
* white miso is sweeter and milder than the more savoury brown miso.
RIPE FOR PINNING!
Thank you to Tenderstem® for sponsoring this post. Partnered posts such as this help me to keep bringing you my recipes and content – for free. Thanks to you as well, for supporting not only Food To Glow but also the quality brands with which I work. I only partner with brands I actually use and like. All opinions are strictly my own.