Marcia Kiesel likes dressing up tender Asian eggplant with a vibrant fresh-ginger sauce that would also be wonderful with steamed fish or poached chicken.
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
8 Asian eggplants, then cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces and scored 2 1/2 pounds sliced lengthwise
Purple basil, for garnish optional
How to Make It
In a heatproof glass bowl, combine the water and sugar and microwave at high power for 10 seconds, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the grated ginger, vinegar, sesame oil and the 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and season with salt.
Set a large steamer basket in a large saucepan, add 1/2 inch of water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Steam the eggplant in batches, cut side down, until just tender, about 4 minutes.
Heat a grill pan. Lightly brush the eggplant all over with vegetable oil. Grill over high heat until grill marks appear, about 30 seconds per side, then transfer to a serving platter. Spoon the ginger sauce over the eggplant. Garnish with the purple basil (if using) and serve at once.
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