Fill the tomatoes with basil pesto if you prefer. Crispy Duck Pancakes, made without chives, are a good addition to this platter, as are quail eggs dipped into the Szechwan salt (see book for recipes).
5 oz asparagus
10 large cooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
For the cilantro roasted tomatoes:
5 Roma (plum) tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tblsp olive oil
A large pinch of sugar
Cilantro Pesto, or 1/3 cup ready-made pesto
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
For the gingered mushrooms:
3 tblsp toasted sesame oil
5 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
For the Szechwan salt:
1-1/2 tblsp fine sea salt
1 tsp Szechwan peppercorns, seeded
For the wontons:
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
10 wonton wrappers
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp five spice powder
A large and small square of banana leaf to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the tomatoes skin-side down in a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with the sugar, salt, and pepper.
Roast the tomatoes for 30 minutes or until soft and slightly charred. Remove from the pan while warm, lift onto paper towels, cool, and top with the pesto.
Boil the asparagus for 2-3 minutes in a pan of salted water or until al dente. Drain under cold water and dry on paper towels.
Heat the sesame oil in a pan. Sauté the mushrooms and ginger for 3-4 minutes. Drain, cool, and season with salt.
Stir the sea salt and Szechwan pepper-corns over a medium heat for 1 minute or until smoking. Cool, grind briefly, and place on a small square of banana leaf, or in a bowl, for dipping the shrimp.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan to 350 degrees F. Fry the wonton wrappers for 30 seconds or until golden, drain, and cool. Dust with the salt and five-spice. Arrange everything on a plate lined with a large square of banana leaf and serve.
Two days before, make the Szechwan salt and store in an airtight jar; roast the tomatoes, cool, and chill. Cook the asparagus and mushrooms 1 day before, cover, and chill. Fry the wonton wrappers 12 hours before and store in an airtight container Fill the tomatoes and assemble the platter 1 hour before.
Freezing: Not suitable.
The Essential Guide to Menus, Drinks, and Planning
By Lorna Wing
Photography by Jan Baldwin
160 pages, full color photographs throughout
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created April 1999
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