Seasoned hard wood, preferably mallee, burnt slowly down to embers
2 ripe eggplants, removing the green calyx whilst retaining the stem
200g shiitake mushrooms, brushed clean
200g oyster mushrooms
100ml light, fruity olive oil (such as Arbequina)
1 bud wild garlic
Recipe by Lennox Hastie
Photography by Jon Bader
1. Prepare your embers. Spread the embers evenly across the base of the grate and set the grill so that it is near the burning embers.
2. Pin prick the eggplant all over and place directly on the grill over an intense heat so that the skin blisters and blackens, rotating to ensure that it blisters evenly all over.
3. Remove from the grill, allow to rest for 5 minutes, before carefully removing the charred skin.
4. Place the interior of the eggplants on a clean dish, season, and drizzle liberally with olive oil.
5. Allow to sit for 5–10 minutes; the smokey juices of the eggplant will run and mingle with the olive oil.
6. Cut oyster mushrooms to an even size, lightly coat with salt, and oil, and grill gently over a medium heat for 5–6 minutes until tender. Add shiitake mushrooms and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
7. Meanwhile grill the wild garlic over a high heat until lightly charred.
8. Half eggplants lengthways and put back on grill to warm, reserving the juices.
9. Place half an eggplant in a shallow bowl, top with the mushrooms and wild garlic pouring over juices to finish. Serve immediately.
Be sure to buy a mature, ripe eggplant, choosing fruit that feel heavy for their size. Eggplants that are full of seeds indicate that the fruit is not at its peak. It will not soften upon cooking and will have a more pronounced bitter profile. Also ensure that you prick the eggplants before placing on the fire to release the trapped steam, otherwise they may explode.