This past weekend we went to Cinespia with some friends at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Cinespia offers the best movie night in the city of Los Angeles with pre-show live DJ and guest interviews. Last Saturday, The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman, Ann Bancroft and Katharine Ross was featured, and both Katharine Ross and Buck Henry (screenwriter) were interviewed before the show. Yes, I’ll admit, I have never seen The Graduate, somehow it slipped past my things-to-see list early on, and tonight no more.
At the cemetery, it is grass seating only, so guests pile on the open lawn area with their personal blankets, beach chairs, food and drink. All kinds of people come to these shows, it’s a great people watching place. So, for dinner I prepared a few dishes that I think make great picnic food – defined by the ability to hold up without much heat or cooling and this eggplant dish works perfectly.
Eggplants come in many varieties and in my opinion, Chinese eggplants are the best for grilling because they tenderize easily and become plump and juicy on inside. Also, you can slice them in half and they are ready to place upon searing grates, no need for excessive slicing. I adapted this recipe from a new book, one of my good friends just bought me, Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden. This cookbook is loaded with tons of fresh vegetable recipes, and it is divided not only by season, but by early and late seasons, which I think is just genius. It highlights the freshness of each ingredient without adding a lot of unnecessary extras to each recipe – you can really taste each season.
You begin by grilling eggplants and scallions, then a quick toss in red wine vinegar, while they’re still hot to soak up the tang and add brightness to the eggplant. Cherry tomatoes and fresh greens mixed with herbs are layered on top and bottom of the salad, and a good splash of olive oil balances out the dish.
I layered the salad in a large plastic container with fitted lid and toted it along with a few other fun recipes that I will post this week. Stay tuned, happy summer!
4 Chinese eggplants, sliced in half
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cups mixed greens
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
salt & pepper
1. Heat grill to 400 degrees. Lay eggplants on grill and cook about 5 minutes a side. Add scallions to grill and cook for 4 minutes, total.
2. In a large bowl, add red wine vinegar and grilled eggplant. Add scallions and cherry tomatoes, toss with vinegar. Let rest 10 minutes. Add olive oil and toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, let rest 5 minutes.
3. Layer greens and half of basil on bottom of platter or container. Place eggplant mixture on top and sprinkle with remaining fresh basil. Don’t seal container, if using, until completely cooled to room temperature. Enjoy!