ASIAN RATATOUILLE (for six)
1 small eggplant (12 ounces to 1 pound), cut into ½ inch cubes
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sesame oil
2 ribs celery, cut on the diagonal into ¼ inch thick slices
1 onion, halved, then cut into slivers
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and julienned
2 small zucchini (6 ounces each), halved lengthwise and cut into ¼ inch thick slices
8 ounces fresh cultivated mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 scallions, white and 3 inches of green, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1. Sprinkle the eggplant with the salt and place it in a colander to drain for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350*.
3. Heat 3 tablespoons of the sesame oil in a large flameproof casserole or Dutch oven. Saute the celery, onion and bell pepper over medium low heat until wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. Add the remaining sesame oil to the casserole. Saute the zucchini, mushrooms and eggplant until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved onion, bell pepper and celery and remove from the heat.
5. Combine the stock, soy sauce, sherry and cornstarch in a small bowl and blend well. Stir this into the vegetable mixture, cover the casserole, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
6. Stir in the garlic, ginger and hoisin sauce, and reduce on top of the stove until most of the liquid has evaporated, about another 10 minutes.
7. Stir in the cilantro, garnish with scallions and toasted sesame seeds and serve.
adapted from Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, The New Basics Cookbook