Summer in California's central valley is usually hot. By the first day of summer we have usually had numerous days in the 100s (40ºC). So far this year I don't know that we're reached the century mark more than once or twice. We've only had a few days that have even made it into the 90s. This is disappointing to me because I don't like to play golf when the temperature is below 90ºF.
One thing I don't like to do in the heat is cook. I do what I can to avoid heating up the house and forcing the air conditioner to come on. I cook stir-fries outside on a propane burner designed for woks or I grill foods on my barbecue. I also make more salads. This eggplant salad can be served warm, room temperature or cold. It comes from a very good collection of recipes, A Taste of Indochina, by Castorina and Stais. Besides having a number of delicious recipes, many of them are specifically written to serve two people.
Red Pepper and Eggplant Salad
6 to 8 baby eggplants, vertically sliced into eighths
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) strips
3 1/2 ounces (100gr) wonton squares, cut in half, boiled, drained and tossed with a little oil to keep from sticking together
2 TBS oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3-4 red chilies, thinly sliced
4 green onions, cut into 2 inch lengths
1 TBS fish sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
2 TBS shredded basil
Heat the oil in a pan over medium/medium-high heat. Add eggplant slices and cook until just softened. Remove eggplant. Add garlic, red chilies, and green onions to pan. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add eggplants, roasted pepper strips, and drained wonton wrappers. Pour in fish sauce, sesame oil, and sugar and stir all ingredients together. Sprinkle with basil and serve. This may be served warm, at room temperature, or refrigerated for a day and served cold. If serving cold, wait to sprinkle on the basil.