Glazed peanuts are a versatile topping to shower over virtually any steamed or roasted vegetable, particularly broccoli, cauliflower or carrots. You can use equally tender Japanese eggplant but you’ll need twice as many for this recipe since they’re half the size of Chinese eggplant. And if you can’t eat peanuts, cashews or almonds would make a great substitute.
Seared Eggplant with Spicy Glazed Peanuts
Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the eggplant to the hot oil and toss quickly to coat. Spread out the eggplant in an even layer, season with salt and pepper and cook, undisturbed, until the eggplant is golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Toss the eggplant, season with salt and pepper again, and continue cooking, tossing occasionally, until golden brown all over and soft, 5 to 6 minutes more. Transfer the eggplant to a serving dish and tent with foil to keep warm.
Return the skillet to medium heat and warm the sesame oil. Add the light green and white parts of the scallions and the ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the peanuts and cook until fragrant and toasted, about 2 minutes. Pour in the soy sauce, sugar and chile flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until the peanuts are glazed and sticky, about 10 seconds. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the scallion greens so the hot peanuts wilt them just slightly.
Scatter the peanut mixture over the eggplant and garnish with cilantro. Serve hot over rice.