The perfect way to start the day - a hot Asian take on vegetables, mushrooms, pesto, and skewers is made great on other vegetables or main dishes, and cooked to golden-brown, smooth perfection, as it keeps a red-hot aroma with the herbs and peanuts from the homemade pesto. Button mushrooms commonly replace the shiitake caps and work for this recipe.
For the skewer base
- 1 zucchini, sliced on the bias, ¼-inch thick
- 1 small eggplant, sliced in half, then ¼-inch slices
- 10 large shiitake caps
- 4 scallions, 1-inch lengths
- wooden skewers soaked in water
- 4 cups roasted peanuts, plain only, reserving 2 cups for plating
- 2 large, sliced shallots
- 4 cloves sliced garlic
- 3 minced Thai bird chiles
- 3 kaffir lime leaves, chiffonade
- 2 stalks lemon grass, white part only, minced
- 1 tablespoon sugar, brown or white only
- 2 limes, juiced or (7 ¾ tbsp. lemon juice)
- 2 cups peanut oil
- 1 cup Thai basil leaves
- ½ cup cilantro leaves
- ½ cup mint leaves
- 2 tsp. salt
- 3 tsp. black pepper
- Prepare a hot grill.
- Skewer the slices individually.
- The shiitakes should have a scallion on each side. Lightly oil and season the satays and on a hot grill, mark and criss-cross both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes total.
- In a food processor, add 2 cups peanuts, shallots, garlic, chiles, kaffir, and lemongrass and puree smooth.
- Add sugar, lemon or lime juice, and season. Drizzle with the remaining oil then add the herbs.
- Check for seasoning. Lay a bed of peanuts on a large plate.
- Serve the pesto in a bowl and surround with satays. Garnish with extra kaffir leaves or lemongrass.