Beef & Aubergine with Bean Sprouts

Bean sprouts? Malting, sprouting, soaking, fermenting, cooking ...

That's the mantra that is often trotted out amongst paleo circles when something off table is enjoyed. I like beer, which is grain, malted and fermented; I like whisky, which is a malted grain, fermented and then distilled - neither are paleo, but both are very enjoyable and I put the latter, certainly, down as a sensible indulgence.

So, why the bean sprouts? Well, I saw a recipe for this and thought it looked really nice. Simple as that.

It also struck me that since going ancestral, I have not actually tried any sprouted legumes. I don't need to try them since I am very happy with my paleo diet and so I don't really have an excuse - "just because", I guess.

All that said, I found mention of them in the Primal Blueprint recipe book.

As far as nutrition goes, there's not much to them really - no fat, no cholesterol, some carbohydrate although not a lot and some fibre. They're crisp, watery and refreshing making a nice backdrop to the heavier flavoured ingredients.

Let's get on with it, eh?

First, get the beef marinating. I used a couple of rump steaks carefully cut around the fat into strips. The marinade is simply balsamic vinegar, cider vinegar, lemon juice, chilli, ginger, star anise and bay. Leave that for a couple of hours. The original recipe called for teriyaki which is soy based, although fermented, it's not something I want to get into.

Next, pre-fry some aubergine slices. I like to slice the aubergine straight through the body, giving nice rounds just shy of an inch thick. Aubergine? That's eggplant if your language went all wonky crossing the Atlantic :)

Fry them off in a little butter until all the butter has soaked into the flesh, the flesh softened and taken on a little colour. Set them aside.

On a couple of plates, scatter out some lamb's lettuce. Lamb's lettuce is a dark green plant with small leaves, sort of like spinach, sort of like watercress. Grind some freshly milled black pepper over.

In a mixing bowl, put some bean sprouts, sliced pickled garlic, some shredded spring onions, more ginger, shredded, fresh coriander leaves, a little sea salt and some olive oil.

Now the fun part ...

Get your grill, griddle or griddle pan up to heat and lay the strips of meat out to cook through until the vinegar is all removed. Set aside, clean the grill and pop the aubergine slices on to get those nice stripes.

Put the plate together placing the aubergine slices as the base, tossing the meat in the salad and placing a generous handful over the aubergine. Garnish with some shredded chilli and place a few cubes of feta around.

As a final word on bean sprouts, consider what J Stanton has to say about L-Canavanine and N=1.