Last night we attempted two dishes from the Chez Panisse - which I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys hearing stories about cooking, as well as anecdotes and great recipes. We made Grilled Salmon with Tomatoes and Basil Vinaigrette - though we had to chance it from grilled to baked because we don't have a proper grill. We also made Grilled Eggplant with Shallots and Parsley - the variation we had to make was that we couldn't find any Japanese Eggplant, so we went with the big mexican aubergines.
(Baked) Salmon with Tomatoes and Basil Vinaigrette - Rating 4 stars
2 shallots (2 ounces), finely diced
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 ripe tomatoes (1 lb), peeled, seeded, diced
2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh basil
Salt and Pepper
1 1/2 lb salmon filet
Combine shallots, vinegar, and olive oil in a small bowl. Add the tomatoes and basil, spoon vinaigrette over tomatoes and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste, and correct them for vinegar if needed. Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Check for color, make sure it isn't still raw-pink in the middle - put the salmon on warm plates, spoon tomato vinaigrette over the filets and serve.
Grilled Eggplants with Shallots and Parsley - Rating 2 stars
12 medium-size Japanese eggplants (2 lb)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 of a large lemon
2 shallots (2 oz), finely diced
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
Cut and trim eggplants, cut lengthwise so they are about 5/8 inch thick, with two flat exposed surfaces. Arrange on a baking sheet, use 2 tbsp of the olive oil, brush the eggplants with oil, add salt and pepper. Turn slices and repeat. Grill over a hot fire, turning them periodically with tongs. Finished when browned. Transfer to a warm platter and squeeze lemon juice over each, mix the shallots and parsley together and sprinkle on top. Drizzle the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil over all the slices, serve while hot.
Now, the salmon got 4-stars, because we had to modify it and while it tasted great, we are still a little curious how it would have been if we had the capacity to grill it in those thin slices. The eggplant got 2-stars because it was hard to cook that one properly, and the recipe of it with the shallots and parsley just wasn't the best tasting. Also, it was kind of a shallot overload when you consider the two toppings each had raw shallots, and that ended up giving me a pretty restless uncomfortable sleep. I think I am a little intolerant of raw onion-type vegetables, my mom is as well. At any rate, it was mostly a very good meal. Now I am going to make that tomato soup and baked eggplant/tomato stuff for my lunches at work.