Chef John Shields

Town House Restaurant

132 East Main Street
Chilhowie, VA 24319
(276) 646-8787

+ Click images to enlarge
Australia Lamb, Cooked in Ash with Smoked Eggplant Puree, Miso, Bonito Dressing, and Black Garlic
Related Content
  • 2010 Washington DC Area Rising Stars Winners: Why  They Shine
  • Letter from the Editor, vol. 64: Wine on the Brain in Washington, DC
  • Letter from the Editor, vol.67: The Shifting Food Worlds of DC and Virginia
  • 2006 Washington DC Rising Stars
    Related Photos
  • John Shields and Pastry Chef Karen Urie Shields of Town House Restaurant - Chilhowie, VA

  • John Shields

    Australian Lamb, Cooked in Ash with Smoked Eggplant Purée, Miso, Bonito Dressing, and Black Garlic
    Chef John Shields of Town House Restaurant – Chilhowie, VA
    Adapted by
    Yield: 8 to 10 Servings


    Vegetable Ash:
    2 eggplants
    3 onions
    3 leeks
    6 carrots

    Malt Ash:
    390 grams flour
    100 grams malt flour
    100 grams hazelnut flour
    4 grams salt
    75 grams dark beer
    150 grams cold butter, cubed

    Bacon Ash:
    30 grams rendered bacon fat
    75 grams toasted black sesame seeds
    25 grams honey
    125 grams tapioca maltodextrin
    4 grams salt

    Miso Eggplant Purée:
    3 peeled eggplants
    4 shallots
    8 cloves garlic
    40 grams white miso
    400 grams olive oil
    Xanthan gum

    Smoked Eggplant Purée:
    4 eggplants
    Blis maple syrup
    Olive oil
    Xanthan gum

    Lamb Fat Vinaigrette:
    25 grams yuzu juice
    70 grams soy sauce
    30 grams acid from pickled green garlic
    20 aged balsamic vinegar
    12 freshly shaved bonito
    30 finely chopped pickled green garlic
    60 grams rendered lamb fat

    Black Garlic-Eggplant Tuile:
    Non-stick spray
    Peeled black garlic cloves

    Black Sesame Oil:
    150 grams toasted black sesame seeds
    75 grams grape seed oil
    50 grams roasted sesame oil
    1 gram salt

    Australian Lamb:
    Australian lamb shoulder
    Lamb fat
    Garlic cloves
    Black cardamom

    To Assemble and Serve:

    For the Vegetable Ash:
    Preheat the oven to 275°F. Slice the eggplants, onions, leeks, and carrots and place in ash covered coals until charred. Remove from the fire and bake in the oven until completely dry. Grind and pass through a fine-meshed sieve.

    For the Malt Ash:
    Preheat the oven to 320°F. Combine the flour, malt flour, hazelnut flour, salt, beer and butter in a food processor and blend until the mixture forms small lumps. Put the mixture on a parchment-lined sheet tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Rotate the tray, and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. When completely cold, grind the mixture in a food processor until it forms a fine crumb. Mix in a little vegetable ash for the desired color and flavor.

    For the Bacon Ash:
    Combine the fat, sesame seeds, honey, tapioca maltodextrin and salt. Split the mixture in half. Cover half in liquid nitrogen until it is completely frozen. Blend it until it forms a powder then remove from the blender. Blend the other half until the mixture forms a fine crumb. Combine the 2 powders.

    For the Miso Eggplant Purée:
    Slice the eggplants into 1-inch rounds and cure with an equal amounts of salt and sugar cure for 45 minutes. Rinse the eggplant slices under cold water and seal in a cryovac bag with the shallots, garlic, white miso, and olive oil. Cook in simmering water until very tender. Blend and adjust the consistency with the xanthan gum.

    For the Smoked Eggplant Purée:
    Put the eggplants uncovered in ashed coals and roast until tender. Scrape the pulp away from the skin and place the flesh with a little skin in a pot. Cook over medium heat until most of the moisture has been cooked out. Blend the mixture and season with salt, maple syrup and olive oil. Adjust the consistency with xanthan gum.

    For the Lamb Fat Vinaigrette:
    Combine the yuzu juice, soy sauce, acid, vinegar, bonito, and pickled green garlic. Whisk in the lamb fat to form a broken vinaigrette.

    For the Black Garlic-Eggplant Tuile:
    Spray a sheet of acetate lightly with non-stick spray and wipe clean. Randomly smash and spread the black garlic on the sheet, creating a thin layer with lots of space in between for the eggplant purée to show through. Dry the tuiles for 1 hour above an oven, then spread a thin layer of miso eggplant purée over the garlic and dry over the oven again. When the tuiles are completely dry but pliable, mold them over the back of egg cartons and dehydrate.

    For the Black Sesame Oil:
    Blend the sesame seeds, grape seed oil, sesame oil and salt together until smooth.

    For the Australian Lamb:
    Season the lamb shoulder to your liking with the salt and sous vide for 36 hours. When ready to plate, pull a small portion of lamb off the bone and sear in lamb fat, butter, garlic cloves and black cardamom. Finish directly in the fire, count to 5 and remove it from the fire. Too much smoke will over-power the flavor of the lamb.

    To Assemble and Serve:
    Spread a small amount of smoked eggplant purée on the bottom of a plate. Gently roll the lamb in the ash and plate on top of the purée. Spoon some of the lamb fat vinaigrette and black sesame oil over alone with some of the ash and top with the dried black garlic and wasabi.