I made this salad last month for a Planned Parenthood of Northern New England board retreat. EVERYONE (just about, sort of) wanted the recipe. So here it is. Sarah says, "This unusual salad looks like the autumn leaves in New England at their peak of color." Maybe so, but it also looks like one of my flower gardens in mid summer.
8 tbsp vegetable oil (you will need more when cooking the eggplant)
4 tbsp. sesame oil
3 med. eggplants, unpeeled, cut into 3x1/2" strips
2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2" wide strips
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2" wide strips
1 green pepper, prepared like the others
1 five oz jar hoisin sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
several drops of hot chili oil
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
(Sarah also calls for a can, 6 oz, of pitted black olives - see how old this book is?! However, I think olives should live in mediterranean food, not asian so I did not add them. Your choice.)
Heat 2 tbsp. veg. oil and 1 tbsp sesame oil in a large skillet over high heat. (Do not use olive oil because it burns at heat heat.) Add as many of the eggplant strips as will fit in a single layer and stir-fry until just crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.. (I took "well browned" as "crisp tender".) Repeat with the remaining eggplant and peppers, adding both oils as needed- emphasis on the "as needed"...because you will need more than the recipe calls for. Transfer all the vegetables to a large mixing bowl.
If you are using olives, add them now, but do not say I did not warn you. Add the hoisin sauce and toss well. Stir in soy sauce, honey and chili oil. Add more chili oil if you want more heat. I did. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve at room temp or slightly chilled. Take this to a friend's house for dinner and you will be a star....or be a star in your own kitchen and eat it at home.