Sardines with miso aubergine and spinach
Classic Japanese flavours are the star of the show here. Shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7 spice), miso paste, mirin and sake infuse charred sardines and tender aubergine.
- 100g/3½oz butter, softened
- 15g/½oz shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7 spice)
- 4 sardines, thoroughly cleaned and head on
- 2 lemons, juice only
For the miso aubergine
For the spinach salad
Mix the butter and shichimi togarashi together. Place onto a large piece of cling film and roll into a sausage shape, twisting the ends tightly. Refrigerate until solid. This might make more butter than you need but it will keep well in the fridge.
Preheat the grill to high. Rinse the sardines well and gently pat them dry them with paper towels. Place the sardines under the grill until they are fully charred, then turn over and grill until the other side is fully charred and the fish is cooked through. Drizzle with the lemon juice and top each with a slice of the shichimi togarashi butter. Set aside.
To make the miso aubergine, place the aubergine in a bowl of cold water and soak for 10 minutes. Mix together the sake, mirin and soy sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
Drain and pat the aubergine dry with kitchen paper. Heat a frying pan until hot then add the vegetable and sesame oil with the dried chillies. Cook for 1 minute then stir in the aubergine. Cook for 3–4 minutes or until soft.
Turn up the heat, add the sauce in the bowl and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the sugar and cook for 1 minute. Add the miso with 3 tablespoons of water and cook, stirring constantly, for 3–4 minutes or until the aubergine is soft and tender. Spoon into a bowl and sprinkle with the spring onions.
To make the salad, blanch the spinach in boiling salted water, drain through a sieve then run cold water over it until it has cooled. Press any liquid from the spinach and roughly chop. Put into a bowl. Mix all of the remaining ingredients together then pour over the spinach and toss.
Place the sardines, aubergine and spinach between 4 plates and serve.