Farro Ratatouille in Sesame Leaves
Displayed packaged and wrapped in the fresh vegetable section of most every Korean Market are the deep medium green colored Sesame Leaves. At first view, those who do not regularly prepare Korean Food at home might think these shapely, up to a few inch sized leaves, might be Grape Leaves used for commonly stuffed Dolmas, grape leaves with rice, meat, or vegetable combinations such as Eggplant, Zucchini, Onions, and Tomatoes.
Although labeled as Sesame Leaves in the Korean Market they are so known only by the translational nature of language rather than the botanical family of which they belong as these fragrant leaves are actually Perilla Leaves, herbal members of the Mint family and not part of the Sesame family at all.
Perilla Leaves impart a couple of flavors, including those of licorice similar like fennel with a combined hint of mint still much stronger than the fresh mint more commonly found in markets or grown in summer gardens.
Perilla, or Sesame Leaves as commonly marketed extend a wide variety of uses, including as a medicinal for a number of common ailments, or in their prevention. The preparation of this green leaf includes blanching, boiling, pickling, roasting, or, as in our recipe today, eaten raw.
Envisioning a bit of chewy flavor to complement the vegetables in this combination, Farro turned out to be a delicious pick rather than white rice.
Any leftover vegetables can easily be transitioned into a lovely ratatouille, or create a quick and easy pasta dish with the mix, as for this recipe, enjoy your healthy and delicious Farro Ratatouille in Sesame Leaves.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium size eggplant, cut into very small cubes
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into very small cubes
- 1 medium summer squash, cut into very small cubes
- 3 tomatoes, chopped and set aside
- 1 1/2 cups cooked farro
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more suited to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- Sesame Leaves (Perilla Leaves), about 5 per person
- On low heat warm olive oil in a large pot, stir in the onion, cook two minutes, add in the garlic, stir, tumble in the eggplant cubes, cooking and stirring while softening, fifteen minutes, topple in the zucchini and summer squash continuing to cook on low heat, stirring intermittently, another ten minutes or longer until all of the vegetables are cooked and softened, stir in salt and pepper, check seasoning, adjust according to taste, let vegetable mixture cool to room temperature
- When vegetables are at room temperature combine with the cooked farro, stir well throughout, add in fresh chopped tomatoes, stir, again check seasoning sprinkling in any extra salt and pepper according to taste
- Spoon a small amount of the farro vegetable mixture into the center of each clean Sesame leave and serve