Eggplant roasting on our little back-porch grill
Earlier this week, I turned an age that my brother informs me is “undeniably what could be referred to as ‘middle-aged.'” Perhaps. But I’ve lived many interesting lives in those years and I am rich in memories. And in any case, my brother will always be 13 years older than I.
I had a lovely birthday weekend (thanks to Jerry, the Amari, a pan-roasted salmon and a chocolate mousse). Actually, that all transpired on my birthday eve, so the next night back at home, I decided I wanted to make a non-Asian summery pasta salad. I used about 250 grams of rice stick similar to these (think fettuccine with rice flour) because they’re the most widely available flat noodle around here. But really, most any noodle will do. Pick your favorite, with our without gluten. Methinks roasted yellow squash and/or crumbled bacon would add nice depth to this recipe, but neither was to be found in this neighborhood this week.
6 cloves minced garlic
1 yellow onion, halved then thinly sliced
3/4 cup pitted green olives, thinly sliced*
3/4 cup minced Italian parsley
3/4 cup sundried tomatoes
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/4 cup sherry (or other alcohol**)
sea salt to taste
hot dried chili of your choice, chopped, to taste
1 long green Thai eggplant
1 package of pasta, your choice
*I found wonderful large green olives stuffed with chilies at the local Tops supermarket deli. No idea on their origin.
**We had neither sherry nor wine (the downside to living in a non-wine region) so I used Thai whiskey, which is sweet and much lighter than regular whiskey. It worked just fine.
First, get your grill going. Slice the eggplant cross-wise, about 1/4-inch thick; grill until nicely done, then set aside.
Mince your garlic and parsley, slice your onions and olives. In an oiled wok on high heat, stir-fry the garlic until golden. Add onion, olives, sundried tomatoes, sea salt and a bit of the sherry vinegar. Keep stirring. Add chopped chili, remaining vinegar, sherry (or other alcohol) and half of the parsley. Stir briefly, then set aside.
Cook the pasta, al dente. Rinse with cool water (especially if you are using rice noodles). Then, in large pot over warm heat, mix noodles with stir-fried ingredients and grilled eggplant. Drizzle with olive oil as necessary. Add remaining parsley, and be careful not to over-cook the noodles. Mix in shaved Parmesan, and enjoy!