During a summer heat wave, cold, no-cook meals such as composed salads, ceviche and gazpacho are your friends.
Triple-digit temperatures are forecasted to continue over the weekend with no reprieve anticipated for the week ahead. If the thought of dialing up that heat by turning on the oven or lighting the grill to cook is overwhelming, there are so many delicious ways to prepare food that don’t require cooking at all.
Bright flavors from fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers and a subtle hint of spice render this gazpacho a perfect dish for a hot summer day.
Take gazpacho, the renowned Andalusian chilled soup, for example. It typically begins with bread and olive oil pureed together with tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and green bell pepper along with some garlic, seasonings and a splash of vinegar to brighten up the flavors. For a silky smooth result, pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve before chilling and serving — either in small glasses for sipping or bowls as a first course. Urth Caffe’s Gazpacho omits the bread, rendering it gluten-free.
Fresh, juicy melon is paired with ripe tomatoes for a refreshing riff on the Andalucian classic gazpacho.
Cookbook author Amelia Salzman’s Melon Tomato Gazpacho, swaps melon for cucumbers and green bell peppers and serves the often vibrant (depending on how you pair the melons and tomatoes) libation in small glasses.
A synthesis of raw fish, pine nuts and pickled mustard seeds, this salmon tartare is deceptively meaty. Steeped in balsamic vinegar and simple syrup, the mustard seeds pop like caviar.
YieldsServes 4 to 6
Seafood lends itself to no-heat-needed preparations such as ceviche and tartare. Chef Jason Neroni’s Salmon Tartare was a signature dish for about a decade when he was at the now-closed Catch and Release restaurant. Served on grilled bread, pickled mustard seeds steeped in balsamic vinegar and simple syrup are folded into the fish and pop like caviar.
Ceviche made from fresh, preferably local fish gets a Middle Eastern edge with tart sumac and Aleppo pepper.
Salzman recommends using local fish to make her Ceviche With Sumac and Aleppo Pepper. The Peruvian classic, which relies on citrus juices to cure the fish, gets a Middle Eastern edge from the tart sumac and distinctive flavor of Aleppo pepper.
This Ecuadorian-inspired, umami-laden vegetarian ceviche is made with hearts of palm, mushrooms, white beans, cauliflower, corn, avocado and a refreshing lime broth.
YieldsServes 6 as a main dish or 8 to 10 as a first course
For the vegetarians at your table, Salzman’s Ceviche Vegetariano is an umami-laden bowlful of mushrooms, lupin beans, avocado, bits of tomato and fresh hearts of palm in a refreshing lime broth.
Black beans are mixed with hearts of palm, roasted red peppers, diced avocado and white onion for a sprightly blend in a cumin- and cilantro-spiked vinaigrette.
YieldsServes 6 to 8
And there is a lot to be said for an artfully composed salad. The flavor of Regina Schrambling’s Brazilianesque Black Bean Salad improves as it sits. Make this mix of black beans, hearts of palm, roasted red peppers, diced avocado and white onion tossed in a cumin- and cilantro-spiked vinaigrette the day before, or several hours ahead of when you want to serve it.
Large chunks of sweet pear and musky Gruyere are toppled over butter lettuce and dressed with a creamy, tangy buttermilk dressing.
The garlicky, Caesar-y dressing in Ben Mims’ Chopped Pear Salad With Buttermilk Dressing stands up to the other flavors in the bowl.
Juicy peaches, sweet dates and salty roasted pepitas make this lemony kale salad ideal for summer.
YieldsServes 6 to 8
Genevieve Ko’s Summer Kale Salad With Peaches and Pepitas is sweet from peaches and dates and salty from roasted, salted pumpkin seeds that are tossed with gently massaged kale leaves.
King Trumpet mushrooms top lightly dressed arugula greens in this salad recipe finished with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and toasted pine nuts.
YieldsServes 6 to 8
For the ultimate in salad simplicity, Russ Parsons’ King Trumpet Mushroom Salad With Arugula and Shaved Parmigiano piles slices of the majestic mushrooms tossed in a lemon vinaigrette on a bed of similarly dressed arugula. Some shaved Parmigiano- Reggiano and a sprinkling of pine nuts add a salty, nutty dimension to the vegetables.