Grilled Shiitake, Sweet Potato, and Eggplant Kebobs

shiitake mushroomsShiitake mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and eggplant are all very “meaty” vegetables. Similarly there’s a creaminess to Sesame Miso Sauce, although it contains no cream. Put them together and you’ve got a very filling dish. Tasty too, of course. Grilling these vegetables as kabobs brings out their natural sugars. (You can broil them if you don’t have a grill or grill pan.)

Makes 4 servings
Hands-on time: 10 minutes

Total preparation time: 50 minutes including marinating time

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger (use a Microplane)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 large sweet potato (about 12 ounces)
2 small Asian eggplants (10 ounces), sliced crosswise 1/3-inch thick
16 large shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps quartered or 32 smaller shittake caps, stems discarded and caps halved

1 recipe Sesame Miso Sauce (recipe follows)

Combine the soy sauce, wine, 3 tablespoons water, the sugar, ginger, and sesame oil in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool slightly.

Peel the sweet potato and cut crosswise into 1/3-inch thick slices. Cut the slices into quarters or halves so that they are roughly the same size as the eggplant slices. Steam the sweet potato slices in a steamer set over boiling water for 6 to 7 minutes or until they are just al dente.

Alternate the sweet potato, eggplant, and mushrooms on eight 8- inch metal skewers. Place skewers in one layer in a shallow baking pan. Pour the marinade over them and marinate them at room temperature, turning a few times, for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the Sesame Miso Sauce.

Preheat the grill or a grill pan. Grill the kebobs, turning frequently, 4 to 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and slightly golden. Serve with the Sesame Miso Sauce on the side.

Sesame Miso Sauce: Combine 3 tablespoons water with 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons red or white miso, 2 tablespoons finely-grated fresh ginger (use a microplane), 1 1/2 tablespoons well stirred-tahini or 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, and 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry in a blender and blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. May be kept for up to 5 days; shake before using. Makes about 1 cup.
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