1. Trim the ends off the eggplant and discard.
2. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and then into 4″-long x 2″-wide x 1/2″-thick pieces.
3. Weigh the eggplant planks and place them in a stainless steel bowl.
4. Add kosher salt at a rate of 1% of the eggplant’s weight and toss to evenly distribute the salt.
5. Brush ½ oz. of lime juice for every half pound of eggplant directly to the cut side or flesh side to prevent browning.
6. Leave the stainless steel bowl out at room temperature for an hour to draw out some moisture and bitterness from the eggplant.
7. Blot dry the eggplant planks with paper towel and reserve.
8. Do this process up to two days in advance and reserve for service, cut-side down, on roasting rack or perforated pan inserted inside an additional hotel pan or sheet tray. Cover the pan tightly with film.
To prepare à la carte:
1. Preheat the flat-top grill to 400°F. If using a broiler or salamander, use the high setting.
2. Brush the surface area of the eggplant planks with the oil blend and season with salt and pepper. Skewer the eggplant planks with 6″ bamboo paddle picks.
3. Griddle, cut-side down, on the flat top for about 2 minutes or until caramelized. For best results, place a weight on the eggplant while grilling.
4. Flip the eggplant over to the skin side and grill it for an additional 30 seconds with the grill weight again on top.
5. Remove from the grill and place on quarter-sized sheet tray lined with a roasting rack and brush the sweet soy on the cut side surface. Place under the salamander or char-grill for about 30 seconds to allow the sweet soy to glaze the eggplant.
6. With the sweet soy still sticky and moist from the broiler, liberally press the sesame peanut chili crunch onto the surface so it adheres well. Then garnish the tops with the lime zest, hand-torn mint and the katsuobushi.
7. Plate the skewers down in the center of a plate, cut-side up and in a neat stack or nest.
8. Drizzle a little more sweet soy around the plate if desired and serve immediately.
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