3 Japanese eggplant, sliced lengthwise and scored in a crosshatch pattern
3 Tbsp Sesame seeds, toasted
10 Mint leaves, torn into mid-size pieces
For Green Tahini Sauce:
1 Lemon, zest and juice
1/2 cup Tahini
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Mint leaves
1/2 cup Parsley leaves
1/2 cup Olive oil
1 Tbsp Salt, plus more to taste
For the Pickled Red Chili Pepper, optional (prep a week ahead):
1 cup Red wine vinegar
1 cup Water
1 Tbsp Salt
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Black peppercorns
1 Tbsp Fennel seeds
1 Tbsp Coriander seeds
2 Sprigs Marjoram, fresh
6 Red italian peppers, sliced into thin rings
If including the Pickled Red Chili Pepper, place sliced peppers in a 2-quart heatproof container. Combine the first eight ingredients (red wine vinegar to Marjoram) in a pot filled with water and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, pour over the sliced peppers. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate for one week before using.
Place pan on stove and turn flame to high. Brush the cut side of the eggplants with olive oil and season liberally with salt.
In a blender combine the garlic, lemon juice, 1 Tbsp salt , 1/4 olive oil and purée. Add the 1/2 cup mint leaves and 1/2 cup parsley leaves and blend well. Pour the purée into a medium-size bowl and mix with tahini. Taste for seasoning; if needed, add more salt or lemon juice.
Grill the eggplant flesh side down for two minutes, then turn and cook on the skin side for 1 minute. Set aside until cool enough to handle, and then cut the grilled eggplant on the bias into 2-inch pieces.
Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over each piece and season lightly with salt and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and mint. Arrange in the serving dish, and sprinkle with the lemon zest. Serve and enjoy!