Earlier this week it was scorching hot in Seattle. I banished myself from the house determined not to cook indoors until the heat broke.
As a result, salmon and eggplant going on the grill tonight. Both are “meaty” foods. They don’t cook at the same rate. The salmon was for that night’s dinner to go with a feta, cucumber, and tomato salad. The eggplant was for another night. I don’t fire up the grill every night during the week. I try to take advantage and cook ahead when I do.
Eggplant gets a bad wrap as a bitter spongy veg. This might be true when eaten out of season. In season take the opportunity to buy smaller plants. In August there are so many different kinds at the farmers market: skinny banana shaped Japanese, tiny, pool ball sized Thai, big, bulbous ones with midnight colored skin. I love eggplant.
This one I cut into thick wedges. The pieces were salted. Then, tossed liberally in a marinade of soy sauce, sweet soy, and olive oil. They soaked away while the nearly one pound salmon filet went on the grill.
Before grilling the fish was seasoned lightly and then oiled. I like to oil my meat before cooking not the pan. I’ll do the opposite for veg when sautéing. I placed the fish skin side down. The grill was lovely and hot. The skin sizzled as the cooking began.
I work clockwise around the grill. This helps me organized. The salmon was over in the top right hand corner. The remaining grill real estate was allocated to the aubergines. I moved the spears around a lot. The high sugar content in the sweet soy marinade increased the chances the pieces could burn before the interior had sufficiently steamed. There is a lot of shifting and flipped. There was a lot of fussing.
The salmon and tomato salad could be enjoyed with a dry, flinty Riesling; a good 2016 trocken from the Mosel would do the trick. The zesty lime quality of Clare Valley Riesling would add a nice citrus dimension.
The eggplant, regardless of what it goes with, would pair well a Gigondas or Crianza Rioja. Something that has bright acidity and inherent savory notes. This would meld well with the eggplant’s now smoky character.