Mocha steak with miso sauce with grilled miso eggplant
I felt like cooking something a bit adventurous and different last night, something Japanese but not just our standard dumplings. After a bit of googling, I stumbled upon the page for Tim Anderson's MasterChef recipes and I knew I was onto a winner. For those of you reading from overseas, or not addicted to the MasterChef franchise, Tim is into the final 3 of UK MasterChef and I am praying like the heathen I am that he wins - I think the dishes he comes up with are totally bizarre and amazing, and the fact that they work and impress the judges and critics show that he really is a cut above the rest.
Anyway, enough gushing and onto our dinner. Thankfully we had most of the ingredients, but still needed to adapt it slightly (partly because I didn't write down quantities on the shopping list as per usual).
Mocha steak with miso sauce
For the steak
5 tbsp finely ground coffee
5 tbsp cocoa powder
pinch cayenne pepper
30g light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 x 200g rump steaks
sunflower oil for frying
For the sauce
2 tbsp sunflower oil
125 grams oyster mushrooms, cleaned and roughly ripped
1 tbsp brandy
100ml chicken stock
75ml miso stock, made up from paste (75mls water with about a teaspoon or a touch more of miso paste)
50ml double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. For the steak, preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Mix together the coffee, cocoa powder, cayenne pepper, sugar, salt and pepper on a large plate and press on the steaks so they are coated on both sides. Hint directly from Tim - make sure the coffee really is completely ground, or it will be gritty. I recommend grinding it in a mortar & pestle so you can really be sure you've got a lovely fine powder.
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan until it is smoking then add the steaks, in batches if necessary, and brown them on both sides, taking care not to burn the coating. Because we were using cheap rump steak, we probably only cooked it on each side for 30 seconds.
4. Place the steaks on a baking tray and cook in the oven for about three minutes (for medium), turning once. Remove from the oven and leave in a warm place to rest till needed.
5. Meanwhile, for the sauce, heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan. Add the mushrooms and fry for 2-3 minutes, gently turning a couple of times. Reduce the heat then add the brandy and tip the pan to ignite the alcohol. Sadly, I fail at igniting alcohol on the stove, so this part didn't quite work out for us.
6. When the flames have died down, add the chicken stock and the miso stock. Bring to a simmer then add the cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then reduce until the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Grilled miso eggplant (aubergine)
Taken from another go-to site of ours, BBC Good Food.
2 small eggplants (aubergines), halved lengthways
2 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp mirin
large pinch golden caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white or black sesame seeds
- Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Score a criss-cross pattern into the flesh of the aubergines. Brush with 1 tsp oil and season. Put on a non-stick baking tray and roast for 20 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix the miso and mirin with the sugar and the lemon juice. Spread this paste over the roasted aubergines and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
- Put under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes until golden. Serve scattered with the spring onions and a handful of rocket.
While it might seem like the two dishes would have too much miso, they really didn't, and they went together amazingly. I was so surprised at how the steak turned out but it was complete and utter perfection - the coffee gave it such a great hit of taste and the cocoa powder toned the flavour down giving you a really rich, smooth and punchy flavour. The miso sauce was also beautiful, a really unusual way of making a standard mushroom steak sauce more interesting.
We also found that beer is the absolute perfect accompaniment to this steak - Graeme was drinking Hoegaarden and something about the flavours all worked so well together. We were talking about just how great this dinner was all night and thought it would be a great meal to serve for when you were having guests over (provided they're adventurous!). I'm really looking forward to trying some of Tim's other dishes now (and hoping he wins, and brings out a cookbook!) - the smushi set is next on my list.