This heat is starting to get to me. I love being outdoors, but when there’s an excessive heat warning and Accuweather is telling me the RealFeel temperature is 103, that means I’m stuck indoors. And it also means I have to limit the amount of cooking I do. And this is really hard for me because I need more than a salad for dinner and I try to cook 4-5 times a week, especially when there’s so much local produce to take advantage of.
Thankfully, I have come up with a roster of no-cook meals that really highlight summer’s best produce and even fresh fish. As long as you can find sushi grade fish (try Local 130 Seafood, Metro Seafood or Nassau Street Seafood) there is a world of delicious no-cook dinners out there for you. Okay, on to the dinner ideas!
Mozzarella, Burrata, or Ricotta
If I could pick one meal to eat every day this summer, it would be burrata and whatever fruits & veggies catch my eye at the farmers market. Maybe it’s the Italian in me, but I feel there’s no better way to celebrate the season! To keep with the no-cook theme, my favorite raw produce to enjoy with these cheeses are fresh tomatoes, kohlrabi, radishes, peaches, or shaved fennel, zucchini, or asparagus. Throw in some arugula or mezza greens, and some crusty bread, and you have yourself a meal!
Raw Fish & Pre-Cooked Crab
If you love sushi but have never tried any raw fish preparations at home before, you’re in for a real treat! Once you have your fish marinating in citrus juice (this helps to cook it) you can enjoy a ceviche with your favorite fruits and vegetables, create a ceviche-stuffed avocado, or roll it up into a summer roll. If you enjoy poke bowls (typically served with rice), you could do a poke lettuce wrap, or serve your raw fish with a wakame seaweed salad. Last but not least, fresh crab is extremely versatile, and can be your main protein in a Caesar salad, topped over a cold soup, or used in place of lobster in a “crab roll”.
The queen of cold soup is gazpacho. And with the bounty of Jersey tomatoes out at the farmers markets this summer, you have no excuse for not making the many delicious varieties out there. There are so many different variations on this classic chilled soup recipe, you could enjoy all of them throughout the month of August (and the hot early weeks of September.)
Corn & Potato Salads
While I typically like to steam or boil my corn & potatoes, you can easily cook potatoes or corn in its husk in the microwave. And because you can keep the microwave going without heating up the house, these salads get approved for the no-cook meal. For 4th of July I made a twist on elote (Mexican street corn) with a corn salad mixing feta and diced avocado and a squeeze of lime. It’s great for all the mayo-phobes out there. But also on my list is this Pickled Corn Succotash salad. As for potato salads, I also opt for a mustard-base dressing, because I can’t deal with mayo. But I promise you won’t miss the mayo in this Potato Salad with Shaved Fennel and Salsa Verde. Just remember to pierce the potatoes before you microwave them!