Tessa compliments her Black Garlic Butter Marron Bisque with smokey Eggplant Two Ways.
Preheat oven to 200C. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
For the Smoked Eggplant Puree, place the eggplant onto a sheet of foil, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Enclose the eggplant in the foil and place onto a baking tray.
Cook in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the flesh of the eggplant is soft and pulls away from the skin. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Place the eggplant and remaining ingredients into the canister of a stick blender. Cover the canister with cling film and using a smoking gun and fill the canister with smoke. Reseal the cling film and allow the ingredients to smoke for 30 seconds.
Uncover and process the contents of the canister to a smooth puree. Season to taste and set aside.
To prepare the marron, blanch the marron in the boiling water for 2 minutes then remove from the water and place into the ice bath to cool.
Once the marron has cooled, twist and remove the head and legs from the body. Using kitchen scissors, cut either side of the underside of the tail and carefully pry open to reveal the tail flesh. Carefully remove the flesh from the tail in one piece and set aside. Reserve heads, legs and shells. Repeat with the remaining marron.
For the Marron Bisque, chop the reserved marron shells and legs in place into a medium flameproof roasting dish. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place the dish onto a medium heat. Add the tomatoes, butter, garlic, peppercorns and 1½ cups of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain through a muslin lined, fine sieve into a small clean saucepan. Return to the heat and simmer until reduced to about ½ cup of liquid.
Add the cream and simmer for one minute and then remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with a lid and set aside.
For the Eggplant and Tomato Salsa, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and prepare an ice bath in a small bowl.
Dice the eggplant into 2cm cubes and spread over a lined baking tray. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt. Cook in the oven until eggplant is soft and slightly golden, about 12-15 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water for 30 seconds and then straight into the bowl of iced water.
When cool enough to handle, peel and deseed the tomatoes. Dice into 2cm x 2cm pieces and place into a medium bowl.
For the Blackberry Vinaigrette, combine the blackberries, sugar, vinegar and olive oil in a medium bowl and set aside.
Combine the eggplant and tomato and drizzle with some Blackberry Vinaigrette. Season with a little salt and stir through. Set aside.
To finish the marron, place the butter and garlic into a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Place the marron into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the garlic butter over the marron until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the marron from the pan and set aside.
To serve, place the Smoked Eggplant Puree into the centre of each serving dish and top with the Black Garlic Butter Marron. Sprinkle the Eggplant and Tomato Salsa over the dish and a further drizzle of the Blackberry Vinaigrette. Serve with the Marron Bisque on the side.
Smoked Eggplant Puree
Black Garlic Butter Marron
Eggplant and Tomato Salsa with Blackberry Vinaigrette