Roasted Eggplant, Mixed Greens Salad, Soy Sesame Vinaigrette
In the mountainous region of Las Vegas it is surprising to me how prolific fresh herbs grow both in large planters and in the ground. The tomatoes too were among the juiciest and reddest I’ve seen. Abundant too. For around two weeks and that seems to be the window. And then, no more garden tomatoes. Done. Nada.
Perhaps this in part explains why folks mention that I might find limited pickings at the area Farmers Markets, especially those originally from the East Coast who exclaim that in this genre there is no comparison to the region of plentiful fertile farmlands.
Last weekend I made my way out to the Summerlin Farmer’s Market. Besides the usual pre-made specialty tables the center hosted a square of four long tables with decorative displays of fresh organic vegetables brought in from California near the Nevada border. At the end of the strip of long tables on the opposite side was one other fresh food display, mostly stone fruits and a couple of other unique specialties also from California.
Spilling out from an inverted wood vegetable basket set on its side was a lovely selection of baby eggplants, little purple globes, and elongated shiny black and white varieties. Perfect for slicing up and grilling or roasting, I decided on the latter preparing this absolutely sensational dish of Roasted Baby Eggplant, Mixed Greens Salad, Soy Sesame Vinaigrette.
Tender cooked baby eggplant lusciously absorbs the soy- sesame flavor combination and complements well with the accompanying baby greens. Immensely enjoyed by all, then making the trip exploring the Summerlin Farmers Market, even from California near the border to Nevada, decidedly worthwhile.
- For the Eggplant:
- 4 baby globe eggplants
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- couple pinches coarse kosher salt
- For the Soy Sesame Vinaigrette:
- 1/8 cup soy sauce
- 1/8 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- For Assembling the Salad:
- Baby Mixed Greens
- 2 scallions, sliced lengthwise, then cut into thirds
- 2 teaspoons ground sesame seeds
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- Preparing the Eggplant: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set eggplant slices onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Toss with the canola oil and salt then arrange evenly around the baking sheet. Roast for twenty minutes, turn slices over and continue roasting another fifteen to twenty minutes, approximately, until the center meat is very tender without falling apart
- Preparing the Vinaigrette: Whisk together the soy sauce and rice vinegar, sprinkle in the sugar and stir to dissolve, whisk in the sesame oil, garlic, ginger and scallion
- Assembling the Salad: Reserve a quarter of the dressing for drizzling over the eggplant. A couple tablespoons at a time lightly toss the vinaigrette with the Mixed Baby Greens. Line the eggplant slices across the top of the salad then drizzle over the reserved dressing. Scatter the scallion strips and cilantro across the eggplant, evenly sprinkle on the sesame seeds