Sichuan Grilled Eggplant And Spinach Salad: Date Added: 11 Nov 2009 Ingredients:

6 Asian eggplants (aubergines) -- abt 6" long ea
(or 1 large globe eggplant, abt 1 lb)
Peanut oil


2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 piece fresh ginger - (1" long) -- peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves -- finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili oil -- or to taste
1/2 cup Chicken Stock -- (see recipe)
1 pound fresh spinach -- carefully washed,
and stemmed
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon chopped green (spring) onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill. If using Asian eggplants, cut lengthwise into slices 1/4-inch thick. If using globe eggplant, cut crosswise into slices 1/4-inch thick.

Lightly score the flesh with a large crosshatch pattern. Brush lightly on both sides with peanut oil. Place the slices on the hot grill and grill, turning once, until the slices are tender, spongy and have light grill marks, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool, then cut into strips 1/4-inch wide by 2 inches long. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

To make the Sichuan sesame dressing, in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the 2 tablespoons peanut oil. When hot, add the ginger and garlic and sauté gently until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Stir in the salt, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and chili oil; simmer for 15 seconds. Stir in the chicken stock. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Arrange the spinach leaves on a platter and set aside.

In a small, dry saucepan over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Add the green onion, cilantro and cooled dressing to the eggplant and toss to mix well. Scatter the eggplant over the spinach, then refrigerate until well chilled. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds just before serving.

This recipe yields 6 servings.

Comments: Traditionally, the eggplant is steamed for this recipe; grilling, however, produces a firmer texture and enhances its natural flavor. Both methods result in a delicious side-dish salad. To assemble a more substantial meal, add shredded poached chicken or julienned grilled red peppers (capsicums).


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