Tiffani Faison's grilled day boat tuna Japanese eggplant with chili lemongrass, basil vinaigrette
4 center-cut pieces tuna
4 Japanese eggplant
1/2 c. kosher salt
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons plus 1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red onions, minced
1/3 cup garlic, minced
2 stalks lemongrass, pounded and rough chopped
2 teaspoons red chili flake
3 cups white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 cup fresh opal and Genovese basil, torn
1/2 bunch of scallions, green parts, thinly sliced
1/4 cup pine nuts, roasted
Cut the eggplant in 1/2 lengthwise. Score the flesh with a crosshatch pattern and salt liberally. Allow eggplant to sit in salt for 2 hours, rinse and pat dry.
Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pot, sweat red onions, garlic, lemongrass and chili in 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil until translucent about 2-3 minutes. Add sugar to dissolve. Once sugar has dissolved, deglaze with white balsamic. Reduce by half. Refrigerate vinaigrette and cool.
Brush a medium hot grill with oil or use a non-stick spray. Place eggplants skin side down to begin charring. Flip to the flesh side and grill to done. Eggplant should be soft but not mushy. Place eggplant into cold vinaigrette to cool for 2-4 hours.
Season the tuna with salt and pepper and place on grill for about 5 minutes total for rare.
Remove eggplant from vinaigrette. Add remaining oil and fish sauce to vinaigrette. Check for seasoning. Toss eggplant with basil, scallion, pine nuts and additional vinaigrette. Plate sliced tuna on top of eggplant, drizzle with vinaigrette, garnish with additional basil and pine nuts. Enjoy!